Thursday, June 1, 2017

theatre review - BARE: A POP OPERA - Nearly Naked Theatre - May 27, 2017

the cast
photo by Laura Durant
Click here for more information on this production that runs through June 17th.

"Bare: A Pop Opera..., which centers on a group of high school seniors and is set in a Catholic boarding school, has situations and characters we've seen before in numerous other films and TV shows, the score has plenty of well-composed numbers and (director Damon) Dering has assembled a fairly talented cast who effectively evoke the numerous obstacles that face these young high school kids.... the story of two high school boys who are in love. The fact that they attend a Catholic boarding school and one of the boys is a closeted loner and the other a closeted popular jock only adds to the drama. There are also various other teenagers who have their own issues, including an overweight teen and a girl who falls for one of the closeted boys. Can these teens bare their souls and let their truths come out, or should they continue to keep them hidden away? ...While the subject material may not be that original, there is much to like in the score, with music by Intrabartolo composed and lyrics by Jon Hartmere. ...But with only a little dialogue and around 40 back-to-back numbers, the show does run a bit long, with several repetitive moments and some confusion in the plot caused by the entire show being sung....Dering's direction keeps the action moving and focused and he effectively uses the fairly simple set design by Paul Wilson and Brett Aiken to quickly establish the various locales of the show. While not everyone in the cast has an incredible singing voice, they all do quite well with the wide-ranging score, thanks to Curtis Moeller's skilled music direction. Cole Brackney Wandelear and Brandon Hayes are effective as Peter, the introspective loner, and Jason, the popular boy, respectively. They present clear portrayals of these two lost boys who find themselves when they find each other..While most of the supporting characters are one dimensional, Dering's cast all work well to create nuanced individuals. Alyssa Lucero and Johnna Watson are excellent as Jason's overweight sister Nadia, and Ivy, the girl who is in love with Jason, respectively. Both have superb singing voices that excel on their many songs. ...Bare has a simplistic rawness and freshness to it along with plenty of honesty in both its lyrics and its characters as well as an intriguing plot. While it is a good musical, with the few shortcomings in the script and score, it just misses being a great one. The talented cast and efficient direction allow Nearly Naked Theatre's production of Bare: A Pop Opera to effectively portray the provocative message behind the troubling personal concerns and sexual issues surrounding the teenage characters in the show. It is a moving production that touches upon the hardships and pain of love and suffering, but ultimately on the enduring strength and hope that tragedy often brings.. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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