December 08, 2006

High Fidelity - Notes

The reviews on High Fidelity are in and the two I read weren't very good.

NY Times critic Ben Bradley said he's adding High Fidelity to his own top 5 list - All-Time Most Forgettable Musicals.

Clive Barnes from the NY Post described the musical as a brave but foolhardy attempt.

What did I think? It's alright. It's not THAT original anymore to base a musical on a movie. But producers are always going after that elusive young, straight male demographic. This musical is up there with the likes of Saturday Night Fever, Footloose (coincidentally, Tom Plotkin from the original Footloose cast is part of the High Fidelity group of understudies and stand-ins), Spamalot and The Wedding Singer.

The show is probably more like the movie starring John Cusack than it is like the book by Nick Hornby. Will Chase stars as the likeable but unlikeable protagonist who blames everyone but himself for his relationship failures. But he's not really unlikeable enough. Everyone in the show is talented of course but the show itself tries to hard. The music is just a little bit better than The Wedding Singer but not even half as good as Grey Gardens or Spring Awakening.

The coolest thing about High Fidelity are the sets. They morph seamlessly into bedrooms, record shops, bars, funeral homes, whatever the scene calls for.

There is one really fun scene in the second act which is a dream sequence where Rob fantasizes about killing his rival Ian. If that scene could have somehow been matched for comedy and energy throughout the whole musical, they would have something.

But don't worry. The more mediocre a show is, the better it seems to do these days. The box office will probably earn more than Spring Awakening which isn't even filling the theater. I mean the Imperial Theater was packed all week with well wishers and future High Fidelity repeaters.

Get a discounted ticket for this one. Don't pay full price.

No comments: