Saturday, August 14, 2010

Edinburgh Fringe - Ray Bradbury's 2116: The Musical

Well, I've had my 'worst show ever' experience at the fringe.

I got suckered in by an interesting blurb. “Hauntingly beautiful, lyrical, cautionary tale for the age of technology. Told by Mr. Marionette’s Shadow Show – robots, dancers, marionettes, fugitives from the law.” I’m sure I read the words ‘Tim Burton-esque’ somewhere, too, although I can’t find that bit of paper at the moment. It was enough, at any rate, that I was intrigued.

I should have asked around.

This show is just shockingly bad. It’s trying to be camp while taking itself seriously, and it’s just awful. And not even the kind of awful that could become a cult classic. It’s just really, really bad.
The first half is an insipid ‘love’ story that goes nowhere. The end is obvious miles before you get there, and there are no complicating factors whatsoever. It marches right down the straight line to the horizon.

The whole thing ends, except the audience is kept behind (clearly as some kind of punishment) and a whole new ‘story’ begins. It turns out the first 40 minutes were the show put on by a troupe of travelling players, Mr. Marionette’s Shadow Show, who also happen to be fugitives. They’re on the run for crimes like telling stories to children and going for a walk. [Insert eye-roll here.] Three of the characters sing songs about why they’re on the run. Then one of them sings about how he’s really pulling all the strings – because it’s a marionette show, get it? Yeah. I know. And then there’s a finale and it’s blessedly over.

Not only was the story moronic, but the songs were terrible. Dumbest lyrics I’ve ever heard, and all of the songs sounded exactly the same. This is the closest I’ve ever come to getting up and walking out during a show. I stayed only because the show was billed at just over an hour and it didn’t seem worth the effort. And then they had the gall to try and sell me a CD at the end.

I want that hour of my life back.

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