Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review: See Rock City and Other Destinations at the Union Theatre

See Rock City and Other Destinations
Union Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th August 2014

Described as a "contemporary musical about connections missed and made at tourist destinations across America", See Rock City and Other Destinations is the most bewildering musical I have seen so far this year. 

I absolutely adore ensemble shows which see stories link and intertwine - Lift by Craig Adams provides a prime example. However, See Rock City and Other Destinations is a disconnected piece of theatre which leaves too many questions unanswered. 

The large cast portray a variety of characters that are all seemingly shallow, making it challenging to connect to the piece. To make things worse, just when you begin to feel an ounce of compassion for a character they disappear, often never to be seen again.

The text is weak; the majority of the humour falls flat on its face while the writing of what-could-be touching scenes is clumsy. However, Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias' musical won the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book so perhaps I'm missing something.

Sadly this show isn't saved by its score which lacks identity and punch. If you asked me to hum you a song right now I would struggle, the only number I have a strong recollection of is 'You Are My Bitch' which did make me smile as it was so ridiculous; the vibe around me was uneasy and awkward. 

The cast do their best, but the direction lacks flair and style. There are wasted opportunities and occasionally vocals sounded strained. The final company number is the strongest moment of the show; together the cast's harmonies are strong and sound incredible in the intimate setting of the Union Theatre.

See Rock City and Other Destinations isn't the worst piece of theatre ever written, but after seeing this production I am struggling to identify who it appeals to - I have no idea who I would recommend it to. With such a loose storyline and dull score, I do not understand what the piece is trying to say or who it is trying to reach out to. 

Over the past year Aria Entertainment has become firmly established as the most formidable producers working in London's exciting fringe theatre scene. The Union Theatre remains my absolute favourite off-West End venue. Together Aria Entertainment and the Union Theatre look set to become a force to be reckoned with and I am already beyond excited for their upcoming Howard Goodall season!

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

See Rock City and Other Destinations runs at the Union Theatre until Saturday 30th August 2014. Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Claire Bilyard

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