BWW Reviews: Start The REVOLUTION IN THE ELBOW OF RAGNAR AGNARSSON FURNITURE PAINTER Without Me

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When an attempt at musical theatre is as inept and lacking in basic craft as Ivar Pall Jonsson's pitiful stab at allegorical whimsy, Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter, there's really no sense in expending much energy to crank out a full description of the tedious display.

BWW Reviews:  Start The REVOLUTION IN THE ELBOW OF RAGNAR AGNARSSON FURNITURE PAINTER Without Me
Marrick Smith and Company (Photo: Carol Rosegg)

Unlike the occasional Broadway misfire that arouses the morbid "I've gotta see this" curiosity of playgoers desiring a good cocktail hour story, Revolution is the kind of forgettable bore that would inspire those who wish to encourage the writers of new, original musicals to hand its author an application to the BMI workshop, where he might learn how to select the proper moments to musicalize so that the story advances instead of lying limp and why lyrics like, "This is the game we are playing / You'd better hear what I'm saying," are unacceptable.

Director Bergur Ingolfsson's production has audience members entering the theatre immediately face-to-crotch with a large projection of the title character, a slovenly-looking fellow slumbering with his legs spread wide and his hands occasionally scratching himself.

Agnarsson's body, we're told, is a world of tiny communities with names like Texass... I'll repeat that. Texass... and Knee York. However, the authors here are more concerned with Elbowville.

BWW Reviews:  Start The REVOLUTION IN THE ELBOW OF RAGNAR AGNARSSON FURNITURE PAINTER Without Me
Kate Shindle and Cady Huffman (Photo: Carol Rosegg)

The bookwriter/composer/lyricist teamed with his brother, Gunnlauger Jonsson, to create the story; a commentary on their native Iceland's 2008 financial collapse, though musical theatre scholars will recognize it as the second act of How Now Dow Jones.

An entrepreneurial young lad (Marrick Smith) invents a prosperity machine that prints up promissory notes to stimulate the economy of the lobster-fishing village, with the expected results. The talents of Tony-winner Cady Huffman (What the hell is she doing in this?) are nearly fully wasted in her underwritten and unfunny role as the sexy and corrupt mayor.

Another terrific musical theatre pro, Kate Shindle, is also wasted in the small role of a woman married to a man with enormous shoulders. The leaden rock score includes a duet where Huffman and Shindle belt their faces off at each other.

This is one revolution that will definitely not be televised.

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.