Do you want to see an off-Broadway musical? No need to go to New York; you need go no further than the Rondo. It may be a long way off Broadway, but this latest production from local company Exit Stage Left sounds and feels authentically American. It’s an unusual piece, in that there is no plot as such; more a series of vignettes of different thirty-something characters in ones, twos, threes, and fours; with each representing in a single song a different view on themselves and their lives and loves, or lack of them. Which may sound a bit repetitive, and in a way it is, but in the hands of the talented quartet of performers here ( Lucas Porter, Jane Morgan, Grant McCotter, and Leah Farmer) the whole thing comes to exuberant life. There are poignant songs, angry songs, sad songs, funny songs: the word ‘gamut’ becomes unavoidable. There are songs about sibling rivalry; self-doubt; career disappointment; even a brilliant satire of Facebook; and lots of stuff about every aspect of love and the longing for it (This is a musical, after all.). This highly-skilled ensemble work extremely well together, the acting and the singing exemplary, and way beyond what you might think is ‘amateur’ theatre. A tightly-directed and professionally polished production worthy of anyone’s notice. Go see it.
John Christopher Wood