BWW Review: DEPARTURE 23:11 at Scala Teatern
Departure 23:11 (Avgång 23:11) is a newly written musical based on Don Allen's play Tram 23:11. Six strangers meet on a tram with a rather strange "conductor" Sabrina (Jonas Nerbe). They do not really know how they ended up on the tram and slowly it becomes clear to everyone that they have just died and have started their journey to the other side. Sabrina is their guardian angel whos´ last mission is to help them over to the other side. In order to get there, you need a ticket and it turns out that there are only five tickets. Which of them hasn't died? It is the audience that decides! In the first act we get to know the different people and the circumstances surrounding their death. Julia (Sanna Martin) who is a career woman who has an affair with her boss and died in a car accident. But how did the accident actually happen? Boxer Bruno (Zardasht Rad) who dies in a fight though his girlfriend asked him to quit. The single girl Nadine (Jasmine Hekura) who died alone at home. Luca (Antonio Tengroth) who had a fatal illness and had been in hospital for a long time. 17 years old Elle (Evelina Klaveus) who take drugs and party most of the time and dies at a party. Single mother Dorota (Aida Jabbari) who gets murdered on the way home with her daughter. Which of these people deserve the most to live? Have they lived their lives properly? Who deserves a second chance? Who has anyone left that needs them the most? Yes, there are many thoughts and nothing is black or white. The fate-filled music of Stefan Levin heard in the background reinforces the unpleasant feeling.
The music is not something you will sing afterwards or that really moves the action forward as much of it is not sung dialogue but more a way to reinforce the characters and their emotions and give us a better picture of who they are. Very good cast and everyone gets the audience involved and feel something for their character. The actors are not the best known but when you look closer, most people have done a lot and it is noticeable. Sanna Martin is probably the most qualified musical artist of them. I have seen Antonio Tengroth in some reading at Playhouse so it was fun to see him act fully. If Sanna is most merited by them as a musical artist, Zardasht Rad is probably the one in terms of acting on stage, film and television. Last I saw him in the National Anthem where he was incredibly good, just like now. Evelina Klaveus is a completely new graduated musical artist and we will probably see more of her. If I'm not mistaken, she joined Legally Blonde this spring. Jasmine Heikura played Doralee in 9 to 5 and has dubbed a lot, including making the Swedish voice for Hermione in the Harry Potter films. Her Nadine really touches you. Jonas Nerbes guardian angel is interesting. Jonas Nerbe was the first Swedish actor to win best actor at the theatre festival in New York, N.Y Fringe for his one-man-musical William. Aida Jabbaris as a single mom evokes the most sympathies tonight and is the one who is voted to live. Nothing wrong with her efforts but it feels so political correct that she is chosen, not the most exciting and interesting choice. So the audience this night took the safe card, but I really hope the audience the other nights is a little bit braver. It would be more interesting to know what happens to, for example, Julia and Nadine. Would they change their lives if they got another chance? Dorota just wants to live to continue taking care of her daughter in the same way. The others want change.
This is really not a happy and happy musical but rather unpleasant which is a nice contrast to the other feel good musicals that are going on in Stockholm right now
It is really fun that Jonas Nerbe fell in love with the play Tram 23:11 and together with everyone on and behind the stage created this interesting, shaking and touching musical that now has world premiere. Highly recommend you go and see it!
It will only be played until 14 November so buy your ticket now before it's too late!