The Disappointing Play:
A review in the form of a hastily and poorly written sonnet
By Robbie Clark
Tonight I saw Red-Eye to Havre de Grace,
On the last days of one Edgar A. Poe.
It was done by Lucidity Suitcase,
And I fear that it was only so-so.
Music too simple and too green for me.
The Writing was so nearly good, a shame.
What they wanted to do, we all could see,
But they fell short: just disappointment came.
Although with blocking fine and stage craft slick,
Movement was done deliberate and slow,
So weak despite, sometimes, a clever trick,
The script: only fair with talent less so.
Potential lost, it was almost so good,
But, sadly, not realized as it should.
I found it somewhat enjoyable but not quite good. The music was a bit too simplistic for me: the incidental music sounded like Neil Young’s soundtrack to Dead Man augmented with the worst excesses of contemporary experimental art music and the songs sounded less like stand-alone pieces than the less artfully composed narrative parts of operas that comes between the beautiful and rememberable bits, like the arias and the duets that you might want to hear by themselves. And only the Park Ranger had trained voice: when he sang with Poe or, towards the end, with Virginia, he made the others sound bad. And, really, his voice was about as good as the weakest of a mediocre opera company’s chorus members.
The choreography and set design were very clever but the execution was weak. I felt like I could almost hear the performers counting out their movements in their heads. There were parts where they were walking along the ever-changing furniture that could have been great but they lacked the grace of the great pantomime artists of the past, like Buster Keaton. The character of Virginia should have been played with so much more grace: even a mediocre professional ballet dancer should have done it better but the person who was casted, despite having a strong dance background, came across as though her training was more in theater than dance.
Overall, there was a rawness to it that put me off. A certain rawness might be appropriate for such a story, but it seemed less deliberate and more the result of the limits of the talent of the people involved. I feel like a decent script editor, a better composer, and a higher-quality set of actors could have made it a great show, but the fact that it had so much unrealized potential detracted somewhat from my ability to enjoy even the good aspects of it.