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Fringe Show Reviews

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Understudies: A New Musical

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With the extreme overconfidence of youth, Winnipeg brothers Connor and Cuinn Joseph have created a 90-minute amateur musical with a cast of 10 (including themselves) and four band members. It’s set backstage on Broadway, a realm the Josephs won’t be seeing anytime soon. The younger Joseph is apparently in high school. The director is unknown because no program was provided.

There’s nothing wrong with the singing and there’s one clever idea here: a duet built around a duel. But this painfully juvenile production doesn’t just deliver stilted acting, clunky lyrics and worn-out stereotypes, from the starlet who trades oral sex for roles to the mincingly gay director. It’s a contender for the Tony Award for most penis mentions in a musical. And its attempts to exploit sick humour show no understanding of how shock comedy actually works.

Whichever Joseph is the composer has genuine potential. He (or they) would be well advised to collaborate with an experienced lyricist, librettist and director and take baby steps before attempting another run at musical-theatre mastery.

— Alison Mayes

From the Fringe program:

Director: Connor Joseph and Cuinn Joseph

Cast: Béla Gyarmati, Kara Joseph, Connor Joseph, Fiona de Koning, Cuinn Joseph, Wendel Shoemaker, Mikaela Domish

When four actors are frustrated about being cast as understudies in a new Broadway musical, they find themselves plotting to kill the leads for their own shot at stardom.

This lighthearted comedy has everything theatre: pretentious theatre traditionalists, ambitious up-and-coming actors, an overly flamboyant director and a Jesus vs. Jesus sword fight.

Understudies teaches valuable lessons by highlighting the importance of a positive self-image and demonstrating the significant impact a good attitude can have on a murder plot.

Audience Classification: Parental Guidance

Length: 90 mins.

Tickets: $10

Warnings: Mild Language, Gunshots, Sexual Content

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Updated on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 2:47 PM CDT:
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