BWW Review: BARE - THE MUSICAL at Chapel Off Chapel

BWW Review: BARE - THE MUSICAL at Chapel Off ChapelReview by Josh Martin

StageArt's latest production, bare the musical, showcases a brilliant batch of fresh musical theatre talent who all have fantastic sets of pipes!

Originally the musical was entitled Bare: A Pop Opera with music by Damon Intrabartolo, lyrics by Jon Hartmere, and a book also by the same duo. The storyline centres around two teenage boys at a Catholic boarding school who secretly are in love. The musical examines how their hidden relationship, seen as taboo in the eyes of the Catholic church, impacts not only their own lives but those of their friends, families and school peers.

The musical premiered in Los Angeles in 2000 and has had multiple different productions before being revised into bare the musical Off-Broadway in 2012. StageArt's production directed by Dean Drieberg appears to be closer to the original version.

The musical has had a cult following but has never been commercially produced on Broadway or the West- End. This may be due to the weak book which lacks relief from constant teenage tension and angst.

The score itself is beautiful, featuring some sincere solos, heartening duets and a powerful quintet at the end of act one. This brings the suggestion that maybe the piece would work better as an intimate song-cycle, ditching its book all together.

The vocals of the entire company, under the musical direction of Caleb Garfinkel, are polished and strong. They provide some stunning interpretations of the score and its lyrics. Hannah McInerney's performance of All Grown Up is a stand out.

Adam Di Martino as Peter and Finn Alexander as Jason both shine in their portrayal of a couple in love yet divided. They both provide touching moments throughout and compliment each other's performances with charm and ease.

Strong performances are also delivered by the supporting cast with particular mention going to Hannah Grondin as Nadia, Jake Fehily as Matt and Hany Lee who is hilarious as Diane.

Chapel off Chapel is the perfect venue for this production. The building's original stained glass window being incorporated into the set creates an authentic setting and the wonderful lighting, design by Maddy Seach and Jason Bovaird, helps to draw the audience in to the intimate moments of the piece.

Bare The Musical is on at Chapel Off Chapel until 15 April 2018.
Tickets can be purchased at www.stageart.com.au/bare-2018

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