Directed and Choreographed by Tom Mullen
Music direction by Kevin D. Mayes
Produced by Bailiwick Chicago
At the Royal George Cabaret Theatre, Chicago
New very British pop musical hard to evaluate
Bailwick Chicago has over the last year mounted two terrific shows (Aida and Fucking Men) and their latest musical, Departure Lounge is a difficult one for me to review. I have an extreme dislike for the current pop singing style that renders lyrics without harmonies in a predictable pattern (see the promo video to hear what I mean). Next, the two guitars made for a strange musical background and the 2-4-part harmonies reminded me of those awful boy bands of the 80-90’s.
Add the very British idioms and the references to the British school system and Departure Lounge comes off as bewildering to American audiences. On the quite small stage at the Royal George Cabaret space the unison boy-band dance routines seemed sloppy and under rehearsed.
The four 18 year old Brits are awaiting their flight from Spain to London concluding a week holiday after completing their high school studies. Their drunken holiday and sexual adventures are crudely boasted about by the boys while they wait for their plane.
The thick and authentic British accents made the lyrics hard to understand at times. The predictable boasts quickly became cliched and tedious. But the singing style and the weak to adequate voices together with the bland music made for a long 90 minutes for me. I must state that I’ve never been a fan of pop/rock singing so my sensitivities should be ignored if you like the current pop songs.
I’d advise watching and listening to the below promo video to see if Departure Lounge is your type of show.
At the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL, call 312-988-9000, tickets $35 – $45, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, matinees on Saturdays at 3 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through December 12, 2010