On February 1, 2013, I went to see our theater students performance the musical Finian’s Rainbow. To say the least, the performance was rather average. The choreography was actually astounding, but voices felt lackluster at times; the characters were well portrayed, but the story felt empty, despite constantly having something going on. After sitting through approximately two and a half hours of dancing and singing, instead of feeling enlightened and emotional over the performance, I felt a sense of emptiness. I do understand that the cast did the performance as the script tells them, I also feel that there was no sense of “wow” in the performance. One of the things that make a performance truly great is being able to make a character your own, and refine it to become you. Unfortunately, I did not see any of this going on in the cast’s performance. Not to mention that at times, when I was attempting to follow dialogue, the mic crew would remind me that they were there and let out a low scratching noise over the voice of the actors. And good lord, the lights! If they weren’t shaking, they were too dim for a good acquisition of facial features.
To start at the beginning, I never really liked the score for Finian’s Rainbow, the pieces seem far too simplistic in nature. Though, that’s only on the part of the actors really, the actual score for the symphony is quite a vexing amalgamation of notes and rhythmic patterns. About the only challenging roll I found to hold a fair amount of tonal quality was in the part of Sharon. Seriously, there were some times in the performance that I was absolutely astounded by the lead actresses ability to hit the high notes that Sharon must hit. Though, I wish the same could be said of the lead actor who portrayed Woody. It’s not that he could not sing, rather, is voice simply did not fit with the rest of the cast. The vocals for Woody simply were too “poppy” in nature and lacked a musical tonality that is needed for musicals. But the cast as a whole had an amazing harmony that I cannot begin to describe. While the actors individually didn’t astonish me, the cast as whole did some things I wish I could see in every high school performance of a musical. Though, you expect good harmonies in any musical, or else I’d just go see an elementary performance of the Christmas Carol.
Before anyone gets severely personally hurt, (as I know anyone does reading a review) there were some actually good things about the performance. For one, the actors actually managed to stay in character completely, which is a rather rare sight in high school performances as well. By this, I mean that all the actors managed to always hold their characters mannerisms, posture and even accents (which were quite convincing by the way). Also, there was never a moment where I doubted that the actors were immersing me in the story, so I was not too aware of the fact I was watching a play. So good on them for doing their jobs as they should be done.
Finally, I would like to commend the cast for selecting a piece that not only has hilarious underlying tones of crude humor and social commentary, but also in picking a piece that confronts the idea of racism. It seems many people are scared these days to perform plays simply because they are scared of the script, but in truth, the script is simply only words on a page. These words can only be made offensive or vulgar if the entire cast wishes them to be so. Thankfully, the cats did not wish for any of this mishap, and they managed to introduce this comedy and racial slander in a moderate fashion that did not have any malicious intent behind it on the part of the actors. After reviewing the script for a bit, I found I quite enjoyed the dialogue of Finian’s Rainbow because although it at times feels like a child’s story, it is similar to a Disney movie in the way it hints at more “adult” content. I may have said I disliked the musical aspect of the performance, I never said anything of the actual dialogue of the play.
Overall, the play was simply average. On top of already having some prejudice toward the play itself, I simply feel as though the actors did their job, and did not bring anything new to the table for Finian’s Rainbow. Though, I do look forward to future performances by our theater department because they all seemed to have fun when they were on the stage with those oh-so-bright lights upon them, and that is what marks a theater group that can go on to do some fabulous performances.
Story by: Izaak Lux