Update: this review originally mistakenly listed the set and lighting designer. This mistake has been corrected.
- Hannah Parke & Shamus Hunter McCarty have created one hell of a musical
- A new take on an unfamiliar world
- Fun and campy
In my pockets
I had nothing to unload going into this show. I didn’t truly know what the show was about, I was just going to support my fellow theater makers. I’m almost glad I didn’t dig too deep into the subject matter because it was pleasant to let it all unfold like a surprise.
The night that I saw the show there were lightning difficulties, so I won’t comment on the lights (Robin Stamey), but I will commend the performers for working expertly with the technical difficulties, so much so that I wasn’t sure it was a mistake. By the end of the show, however, the lighting problems had leveled and we were back on track.
I’m not sure if the performers were mic’d or not, but during some of the more intense dance numbers I couldn’t hear the singing as well. I am sure I missed some witty lyrics. Yet all the design elements, especially the costumes (Blair Thompson), sets and props (Artur Almeida), created a great representation of the pageant world. The backstage areas were simple yet nuanced in creating the world of the play and the fringe backdrop set the stage for the pageant performances sections.
What an absolutely witty and funny script and lyrics. This is the first time I’ve seen the issues of the child pageant world tackled in live performance.The action of the play is very clear. The structure is strong, taking the audience through each segment of the pageant, while interspersing flashbacks of Mama’s life. The pageant girls all have nice character arcs. The host and Mama seem more like props to lead the girl’s stories along, but that didn’t bother me. While the audience got a great look into why Mama was how she was, her character didn’t change or resolve her arc at the end, but not everyone changes! The message was clear. The final and most hilarious number shows the pageant girls rejecting the pageant system and their parents to rebelliously embrace who they are.
The performances were strong across the board. The cast held together a funny show, singing and executing their dance performances very well. The choreography (Dana Kreitz) really complimented the songs. Hannah Park as Honey rocked the whole show with great energy and dedication. She made us want her to win. The pacing was tight and I was engaged from beginning to end.