Ubermensch’s production of Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party, directed and choreographed by Emmalee Meisels, fell disappointingly short of being wild, or indeed, a party.
The musical follows the trajectory of a party thrown by Queenie and Burrs in their New York apartment for their fellow starlets which quickly descends into a night of debauchery.
We learn more about the characters as their personal backstories are revealed. Unfortunately, confused direction and blocking, coupled with on-going sound issues, made it hard to become emotionally invested in any of the characters. The set (Mimi Petrakis), costumes (Lousie Sharee Parsons) and makeup (Anna Burley) were definite highlights, creating the atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties and creating visual appeal.
The show certainly had moments of enjoyment, humour and energy; James Lowther and Kristen Ryan entertained as Burrs and Kate respectively. However, these moments remained the exception in what was overall a muddled and fairly dull show. Laura Raiti as Queenie, on the other hand, was less compelling – her vocals were inconsistent and she did not always successfully portray the depth of her character.
The second act, supposedly the culmination of the night’s chaotic escapades, fell a little flat. You’d think with all the drugs, sex, drinking and violence you’d at least be entertained, but it felt more like a list of things happening than an actual story, and again, it was difficult to feel a connection with the characters.
Overall, the show seemed unpolished – hopefully as the season continues the clear effort that has gone into the production will pay off, technical difficulties will be resolved, and allow the more compelling moments to come to the fore.
The Union Theatre, Union House: 5-14 March 2015
Photography: Ben Fon