BWW Reviews: NRACT Visits the Roaring 20s with Lippa's THE WILD PARTY
North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre is taking audiences back to the roaring 1920s with Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. Originally performed Off-Broadway in 2000, The Wild Party is based on a long-form poem of the same name by Joseph Moncure March, published in 1928. The plot revolves around unsatisfied lovers Queenie and Burrs, and their subsequent love interests, Black and Kate. It begins as vaudeville couple Queenie and Burrs throw the titular party, as Queenie decides she needs to do something about Burrs' increasingly violent demeanor. The show progresses largely over the course of one roaring party featuring plenty of bathtub gin, a little bit of drugs, some violence for good measure, and plenty of partygoers who aren't sure what they really want.
While the second half of the show focuses almost exclusively on the tangled love affairs of Queenie, Burrs, Black, and Kate, Act One introduces the audience to the partygoers and has several lively numbers, most the pointedly non-traditional "An Old-Fashioned Love Story", sung with great comic timing by Natalie Turgeon as Madeline True. The ensemble has great energy and keeps the show moving along well.
Lippa's score is an ambitious undertaking, especially in a small venue like NRACT. Anne Caitlin Donohue is well-suited for the vocal demands of the role of Queenie, and is the clear vocal anchor for the show. She is enjoyable to watch as her character progresses through the party. The other leads also sing the score well, though are perhaps cast against type. Overall, though the show is perhaps better suited for less intimate venues, the cast sings the music well and Lippa's well-crafted score keeps the show entertaining throughout the evening.
The Wild Party runs through March 23. For tickets and more information, visit www.nract.org.