BWW Review: NEXT TO NORMAL at The Wimberley Players
NEXT TO NORMAL at the Wimberley Players is a delightful dive into the Goodman family as the mother Diana deals with Bipolar Depression, Natalie, the daughter, crumples under the weight of school and college applications, and the stalwart father Dan tries to hold his family together.
This is such a, emotionally layered show, that you can't cheat even the smallest of moments if you're going to get the intended emotional gut punch. Director Jason Kruger, put together a cast that was able to deliver these moments with skill and vulnerability while not losing a single moment of the delectably complicated score by Tom Kitt.
Speaking of the performers, each actor delivered a highly complex character that felt immensely real. Stand outs include Meg Steiner as Diane and Nicholas Bordovsky as Diana's two doctors. Mrs. Steiner sang this role with everything she had and made it her own, adding some well-placed riffs to her many musical moments.
Mr. Bordovsky had the joy of portraying two very different psychologists, and he created enjoyably contrasting characters. His Dr. Madden having a warmth and genuine concern made it obvious why he was highly recommended by Dan's coworkers. Not to mention, Mr. Bordovsky is vocally one of the strongest members of this cast, and it was a treat to hear him show off his vocal chops in songs like "Make Up Your Mind" and "Better Than Before" - my only wish was that he was given more to sing.
The artistic choice to use projections as a way to reflect Diana's mental state was a very clever idea, but it just wasn't executed to the level that would have made it as impactful as it had the potential to be. It seemed as if they weren't entirely sure how to symbolize the amount of complex emotions that Diana is feeling throughout the show, so instead we are given generic videos of falling leaves, glitter, or moving clouds. This could have been an extremely smart way to get the audience inside of Diana's head, but it fell short.
All in all, NEXT TO NORMAL at the Wimberley Players does a good job at tackling this intricate, powerhouse of a musical with fantastic performances.
NEXT TO NORMAL is running at the Wimberley Players from November 8th - December 1st. For more information, including ticketing, you can go to https://www.wimberleyplayers.org/.