Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of Roundabout Underground's DARLING GRENADINE? - Read the Reviews!
Roundabout Underground debuts its first new musical in a decade. When charismatic songwriter Harry falls for clever chorus girl Louise, all of Manhattan glitters with the blush of new love. But what happens when the sparkling fantasy begins to dissolve? Bubbling over with charm, wit, and whimsy, Darling Grenadine navigates the tension between romance and reality, light and dark, bitter and sweet. Featuring a vibrantly eclectic score and stirring book and lyrics by Daniel Zaitchik.
This is a limited engagement through Sunday, March 15, 2020.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: The performances, too, are first-rate. Kantor, who's lately made a specialty of romantic longing with his moving turns in The Band's Visit and Fiddler on the Roof, and Walton, recently seen in Come From Away, are likable and affecting, movingly conveying their characters' vulnerabilities. Johnson (On the Town) is so good as the supportive brother you wish he had been given more to do musically, and Matt Dallal and Aury Krebs provide solid support as a variety of minor characters, the former most amusingly as a sarcastic barista. Despite being the sort of old-fashioned musical love story that seems to have fallen out of vogue in this cynical age, Darling Grenadine never feels like it's pandering to the audience. On the other hand, if its final moments don't thoroughly delight you, you're clearly not a dog lover.
Robert Hofler, The Wrap: It's possible that Zaitchik judges Harry more harshly than the character deserves. The book would be stronger if Harry's enabling step-brother (Jay Armstrong Johnson) shared some of the guilt. Despite Walton's winning performance and gorgeous vocals, Louise remains a cipher, and her "All About Eve" moment doesn't resonate. More successful is the depiction of Harry's attachment to his dog, Paul. It's very of-the-moment that many citizens of this city think of their pets as people. Totally enchanting is the way in which the Trumpet Player (Mike Nappi) evokes Paul while also providing musical segues between scenes.
Steven Suskin, New York Stage Review: The cast is all-round attractive, including Kantor (the telephone guy from The Band's Visit) charming his way through the affair; Walton (a replacement in August: Osage County and Come from Away) doing likewise, with a bit of a showpiece ("Paradise") in the second act; and Johnson (On The Town, Hands on a Hardbody) giving yet another one of his fine performances. Aury Krebs and Matt Dallal chip in as diverse supporting characters, while trumpeter Mike Nappi makes a prominent canine contribution. Michael Berresse, the song-and-dance man (Kiss Me, Kate) turned director/choreographer ([title of show]), handily fills the chore here. Given the 70-seat in-the-round staging, Berresse and his designers provide an interesting environment, with especially effective in-the-round pen-and-ink projections from designer Edward T. Morris that seem to draw themselves as you watch.
Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Theatre Guide: The book, like some songs, has a playful side. Harry's pooch and devoted gay brother (Jay Armstrong Johnson, excellent) are both named Paul, and that's grist for punchlines. But the author has more in mind than being just another jokey rom-com. The story takes on grown-up themes of love, ambition, self-esteem and the legacies of family issues. The action begins and ends, we eventually realize, as a recollection related by Harry. It's a rich and tidy conceit, even if one wonders how Harry could remember private moments between Louise and a fellow actress (Aury Krebs) and his brother Paul and his boyfriend (Matt Dallal) if he wasn't there.