This review was amended for clarification.
meg jo beth amy & louisa is a fictional depiction of how Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” evolved into the classic story we know. True, Alcott was pressured by her publisher to abandon her short stories and turn her attention to something more commercial, a story for young girls which became semi-autobiographical. Because her family was poverty stricken and she was the responsible sister, she capitulated to him, most of the time.
While all four of Alcott’s central characters are there, the depictions of them were only average, and Beth’s was the only storyline that felt authentic.
However, Brandon Martin and Dana Placentra fantastically played multiple characters that stole each and every scene they were in. The bad news is that they were minor characters. Martin, as the author’s pet rat, reminiscent of the Irish monk’s Pangur Bur, was so well done, we can be forgiven for wishing he appeared more frequently. His devil, as in the dueling devil/angel thought bubbles on a character’s shoulders when pondering a decision, is, well, delightfully devilish. His Jenny Snow is spot-on with Kardashian-sister vocal fry . So the comedy works.
[adsanity_rotating align=”aligncenter” time=”10″ group_id=”1455″ /]
What didn’t work? Unfortunately, a lot. The actors’ yelling, when portraying heightened emotions, was so annoying I wanted to tell them to collectively step back. They all yelled constantly. All I heard was yelling. The biggest offender was James Canfield, who played Niles the Publisher. I think he was aiming for an eccentric, flamboyant, artistic character but came off as an anxiety-ridden bully, his high pitched voice more fitting to a screecher monkey. Every time he stormed onto the stage, he disrupted the flow of the show. Next door neighbor, Laurie, played by Mel Gonzales was good overall but has a moment of douche-baggary that is way out of left field.
There are a number of musical interludes that some may find explanatory, but when underscoring a scene, the music drowned out the dialogue. Interpretive dance scenes were basic at best. Audience participation was strange and unnecessary. Serious scenes bordered on bad soap opera.
meg jo beth amy & louisa closes July 24, 2019 at Capital Fringe. Details and tickets
There was a running theme of an umbrella – I never got why.
When Louisa finds her female empowerment voice and tells off her publisher, the timeline seems off. She gets her spine, then loses it, then gets it again to control her destiny.
If there is a greater meaning behind meg jo beth amy & louisa, I’m sorry to report that I missed it.
meg jo beth amy & louisa . Written by Tier5’s revise/devise ensemble (James Cougar Canfield, Ariel Francoeur, Hilary Kelman, Amy Frey, Margaret Gorrell, and Laryssa Schoeck). Director: Ariel Francoeur . Cast: James Cougar Canfield, Hilary Kelman, Margaret Gorrell, Amy Frey, Martine Fleurisma, Benjamin Cardona, Mel Gonzales, Brandon Thomas Martin, Michelle Walker, Dana Placentra, Dina Laura . Choreographer: Chandler Converse . Produced by Tier5 . Reviewed by Kelly George.
James Cougar Canfield says
“When Jo finds her female empowerment voice and tells off her publisher, the timeline seems off. She gets her spine, then loses it, then gets it again to control her destiny.
Jo doesn’t confront her publisher. Louisa does. Nor does Jo go through any sort of gender crisis. A lot of stuff in the article is attributed to the wrong character. Regardless of the reviewers opinion on the quality of the show, it’s important to make sure that when reviewing the facts are correct and attention is paid and attributed correctly.
Also, the authors of the show are listed in the program.