07/07/2016 - 16/07/2016
Edges is about those points in your life when you’re on the brink of something – whether it’s ending a relationship, knowing that you need to change something, letting yourself love or finding self-acceptance. It’s told through a series of vignettes – self-contained stories told through song in a way that makes stories accessible to everyone. Each one of us will take something different from it, so everyone should leave from it having connected it.
Edges stars a stellar cast of Leanne Howell, Jonathan Martin, Awhimai Fraser and Tainui Kuru.
July 7th-16th Galatos
17 Galatos Street, Off K Road
If you want to read more about the show click here.
Rebel Theatre was created to give opportunities to young professional performers wanting to perform in musical theatre. Rebel is about fresh contemporary musical theatre and aims to be bold and daring in its approach. Rebel is about valuing young performers and is primarily about supporting young kiwis in multiple capacities.
Links to Rebel Theatre related content:
Edges Promotional Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WT73BtvmB0
Edges Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/274458769563738/
Rebel Theatre Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Rebel-Theatre-663768360416513/?fref=ts
Theatre , Musical ,
Could get closer
Review by Matt Baker 12th Jul 2016
There are many edges at which we arrive in our lives; leaving home, losing friends, falling in love, breaking up, and while the gravity of each is justified with respect to the individual life lived, it’s difficult to take anything away from a show written by two 19 year olds when it doesn’t introduce anything new to, or beyond, the quarter-life crisis. Written by the youngest ever Jonathan Larson Award winners, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Edges is a song cycle of 15 (with an optional additional six) independent musical numbers about the various precipices to which life can lead.
For those unfamiliar with the development of the genre, Rebel Theatre has provided Auckland audiences with an introduction to the new age of musical theatre. Large ensembles and Civic-sized stages are no longer necessary for musicals to make an impact. Unfortunately, the reality of what Rebel Theatre has achieved is underwhelming. [More]
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Quartet's vocal talents a fine start for new venture
Review by Janet McAllister 12th Jul 2016
This beautifully sung song cycle follows the same unusual format as Brel: two guys and two gals singing songs without an overarching storyline. But instead of mid-century European folk music, Edges presents the quarter-life crises of self-conscious 20-somethings, in mid-2000s, clean-cut, American musical theatre style.
Some of the lyrics tend towards platitudes and the female characters are limited to relying on romantic relationships for fulfilment, but the multiple harmonies are wonderful, there are nice moments of musical complexity and the two fast-paced witty ditties are genuinely humorous. “That was Romy and Michele amazing,” marvels one character about her high school reunion. [More]
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Earnest solos balanced with more playful, humour-driven songs
Review by Nik Smythe 08th Jul 2016
Emerging company Rebel Theatre’s cabaret show is a song cycle created by University of Michigan undergraduates Justin Paul (music) and Benj Pasek (lyrics) in 2005, when they were nineteen. The composers’ youth is reflected somewhat in the thematic angst that infuses the various characters’ heartfelt declarations throughout the seventeen original songs over two ‘acts’.
Director Jason Te Mete and company have relocated the setting to New Zealand, to make it more relatable to a local audience. While such a shift can backfire if awkwardly forced, in this instance it seems to translate well enough, albeit not exactly necessary given the universality of the soul-searching theme.
Galatos can present some difficulties for stage setting and particularly sound, with its raised, deep-set stage alcove and high ceiling. The company deals admirably with the challenging space, with the three-piece band placed unobtrusively upstage so the four young performers perform in front, and/or on either of the two smaller stage areas set slightly forward on each side of the forward, table-seated audience.
Said band comprises musical director and virtuoso keyboard player Josh Clark, bass player Matt Neal and drummer Daniel Waterson. Together they underpin the programme of self-reflective anthems with accomplished skill, adept as they are with the prescribed modern theatrical/ cabaret musical styles.
Overall the cast gives confident, focused performances, each demonstrating notable vocal prowess as they portray a variety of characters. Generally each number is sung from the point of view of one or more twenty-something youngsters at some form of impasse in their relationship, career or other essential area of their life.
There’s an expected degree of first-night stiffness and a few bum notes, however there’s no question that all four can sing, and act. This is a big help in the selling of the more introspective, angst-ridden pieces that a less capable cast could easily render embarrassingly self-indulgent. Early on I’d been expecting some kind of narrative thread but as it becomes apparent each scene is self-contained, linked only by the pervading existential themes, it’s not a problem to relax and go with it.
Jonathan Martin displays a clear dramatic intention in his opening solo ‘Invercargill’ (translated from the original’s ‘Monticello’), in which a young man dreams of heading North to the big city someday, when he’s ready. In this song and others, Martin has a bit of a disconcerting habit of lapsing into a distinct Broadway musical-style drawl during more impassioned sections.
Leanne Howell displays a crisp vocal presence and technical precision while maintaining relatable depth of character, e.g. in ‘Lying There’, where a young woman with everything she dreamed of and worked towards is still plagued with existential discontent – ‘Wishing I could love you isn’t really loving’.
Technical issues in the first half unfortunately undermine Awhimai Fraser’s otherwise exemplary performance. After struggling valiantly through a couple of numbers it seems someone shrewdly opts to switch her mic off; a wise move which both eliminates the distracting crackle while highlighting what a strong, rich and soulful tone she commands, maintaining volume and clarity with aplomb. The problem is fixed for the second act, and hopefully the remainder of the season.
Tainui Kuru’s vocal proficiency is well met with a naturally engaging, cheeky expressiveness in various roles, such as the nervous new parent or the cheating husband using his own father’s shortcomings as dubious justification for his own philandering ways.
In a couple of pieces towards the end, players accompany each other’s songs with sensitively executed interpretive dance choreographed by Rebekkah Schoonbeek-Berridge.
Balancing out the earnest solos bordering on cliché teen-angst are a range of more playful, humour-driven songs. For instance, the men’s duet ‘Pretty Sweet Day’ recollects a particularly memorable adventure with a third party who has since betrayed them by happily settling down with his girlfriend.
Besides the generally above-average production standards, another arguable reason the more egocentric numbers seem to resonate is that, like it or not, we can all relate on some level to the inevitable isolation felt when contemplating the nature of our very existence.
In conclusion, while Rebel Theatre’s inaugural showcase may not exactly break rules or challenge boundaries as much as their brazen name suggests, Edges certainly offers a worthwhile performance experience that differs from the current norm both theatrically and musically.
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