Reviewed by Benjamin Schwartz
Somewhere in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic unspecified location, a tunnel deep inside the earth is home to a small community of scavengers. Also as a guy who talks to a rat. This is the world that Thug Tunnel, Robot Teammate And The Accidental Party’s newest musical, takes place. Oh yes, it’s a musical. And a very good one.
The score, by Sam Johnides, borrows from a multitude of genres including new wave, indie and operatic rock. Johnides likes to fall back on his deep, haunting minor chord progressions that we heard in Timeheart and Annabella, but no one’s complaining. A live band (which includes a keytar!) on stage performs with flawless passion. Using electronic instruments and a drum pad instead of a drum kit was a wise decision, as it allows much more control over the live mix so singers don’t have to belt every song.
The story follows Petunia (Kat Primeau) and Panther (Chris Bramante) who one day, decide to escape the tunnel in hopes of reaching the surface. The villains, Breakin’ Necks Becky (Nikki Muller) and Stabby Rick (Dave Reynolds), are there to make things as difficult as possible. It’s a classic hero’s journey that ultimately, feels totally formulaic, but in the end it doesn’t even matter. The book, by Molly Dworsky, is hilarious with unique, quirky and lovable characters.
One thing that I don’t usually comment on is lighting, considering the generic, basic light plot all the shows have to work with. Dark, moody lighting with consistent use of strong backlight compliment the story perfectly.
Robot Teammate and The Accidental Party create musicals for the millennial generation. This is the fresh, adventurous direction that we desire this form to evolve into and personally, I can’t wait to see what they bring next.
Thug Tunnel runs through June 20th
For tickets and more information visit: http://hff16.org/3671