Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gigantic **

This musical with a book by Randy Blair and Tim Drucker, music by Matthew roi Berger and lyrics by Blair has been kicking around in various forms since 2009. As “Fat Camp,” it won Best of Fest award at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in a production directed by Alex Timbers. In 2012 American Theatre of Actors revived it with several cast changes and a set by Beowulf Boritt. Why talents such as Timbers or Boritt were attracted to this pedestrian show and why Vineyard Theatre decided to give it a third New York outing are mysteries to me. The antics at a summer camp for overweight teenagers are a slender {pun not intended} thread for a full-evening musical. During the second act, the authors try frantically to liven things up with a production number featuring a dozen or so life-size dancing animals that bears no relation to anything else in the show. Likewise, as part of the color war, one team, with no rationale whatever, performs a scene from “The Crucible” dressed in Pilgrim costumes made from trash bags. The energetic, appealing cast give it their all. They are all good, but Bonnie Milligan, Larry Owens and Leslie Kritzer stand out. The music is generic pop-rock, with many songs sounding almost alike to me. I might have appreciated the music more had it not been blasted at levels that were painful to bear. The woodsy set by Timothy R. Mackabee is quite attractive and Gregory Gale’s costumes are inspired. The choreography by Chase Brock is lively and the direction by Scott Schwartz is smooth. Too bad the the quality of the material does not match the high level of the production. Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including intermission.

2 comments:

Art Carey said...

Bob -- I read somewhere that Leslie Kritzer is in the cast. Is that correct? I try to see everything she's in.

Bob's Theater Blog said...

Yes, she is. I like her too, but I didn't think she was shown to best advantage here. During her biggest number, she is unrecognizable because of her costume. That's probably why I inadvertently omitted her name.