Terça-feira, 18/6/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Center Stage’s Honk Jr! Is a let down

6 votes

As my friend and I headed in to the Comstock High School auditorium, I was hit with a strong feeling of nostalgia; the last time I had been here was when I was in one of Center Stage’s shows. Heading to our seats, I noticed that the theatre was pretty full, the echo of chatter was bouncing around the room. We took our seats and got ready for the show to begin.

I still can’t quite understand what went wrong here– maybe it was the show’s premise, which is basically just a musical version of the ugly duckling. I didn’t find the plot super engaging and wasn’t strongly attached to the characters or their struggles. The show itself felt very flat and stagnant.

The musical opened with a lone child fishing at the edge of the stage, and he is our introduction to this world. We find out he is a goose named Drake, and he and his wife Ida live on a farm that’s full of life. Then comes a big number, showing us the daily life on the farm. One of the most important parts of a show is its opening: It shows the audience a glimpse of what is to come. When the boy did the song, it enlightened me– on how awful this show would be.

Besides the plot itself, the whole production was a big mess. One of the first things I noticed when entering the theatre was the set, which looked like it had been completed in the span of two weeks. The aspects of it were very barren, with some normal farm fauna displayed around the stage, along with a semi-nifty platform structure that lead up to a gigantic egg at the center. While I certainly could’ve been treated to much worse, this wasn’t I remembered from my time here. I guess I can’t be to harsh since I’m presuming the budget isn’t that big, but if you don’t have the resources to pull off a big set, don’t.

A majority of the vocals in this show were borderline offensive– with a large chunk of the cast either off pitch or not even singing. I felt like I was in a nightmare, because if this is what I looked and sounded like onstage, I’d jump into the orchestra pit. The only songs I actually enjoyed, were Ida’s song “Different,” and the act two opener featuring Drake as a stay at home mom. Every other song was either full of bad vocals or was badly interpreted.

Some of my favorite performances were from the supporting characters, who really gave the play some extra oomph that some of the leads couldn’t bring. The performance who stood out the most would have to be Daniel Schubkegel, who played Drake. He was one of the people who made me laugh. Some other honorable mentions were Hailee Torian (Penny), Nola Perry (Greylag) and Taylor Bernardi (Dot).

I have a small issue with the kid who played Ugly (Xavier Lillie), as I don’t think he was suited enough to be the lead in this show. I found his acting to be good, but his singing just wasn’t on par with others, especially when he had to sing with Ida, played by Chloe Page. Ida always gave the show extra energy and seemed really committed to her role, which I didn’t read with Ugly. It’s not a good thing when your lead is overshadowed by its secondary lead. I think with more time and practice, he could’ve brought something more to the table.

Some final complaints I have have to directly do with the costuming, choreography and production staff. The costuming was very basic, and it didn’t seem like there was much detail taken into anyone’s outfits, except the leads. It looked like some of the kids had brought their costumes in from home (and honestly, that wouldn’t surprise me). The choreography was extremely bland and very satisfying, but the worst part was that a big chunk of kids didn’t even seem to know the routine. Whoever that choreographer was, shame on you. You should’ve worked on that much harder than you did.

And finally, to the Director and Musical Director: what in the world were you doing during the whole production of this show? I honestly I can’t understand what happened here; It was obvious that you had so much potential to work with here, but it seemed like you didn’t teach them the songs or give them direction or do anything productive. The downfall of this show rests directly on you two–you who didn’t give these kids the show they deserved.

Overall, my disdain with the production team doesn’t really matter, as I’m just glad these kids got to have fun doing what they love. I definitely felt cheated out of a good show, but I don’t put any of it on the cast as they all genuinely looked they were trying and having fun, which is all that really matters. Theatre is about having the ability to express yourself and to present a story to an audience that can leave lasting impacts with them. And I definitely think the cast accomplished that goal.

While I definitely wouldn’t say this company is as good as places like Farmers Alley Theatre, or The New Vic Theatre, Center Stage is a great place for people who are interested in doing theatre to start out and experience what performing is all about.


Samuel Tilbury
About

Hi, my name is Sam Tilbury and I'm a Senior at Gull Lake High School and the entertainment/opinion editor for the school's newspaper. I'm the only student in our grade that's been apart of Newspaper all three years, and I'm very excited to start my final year on staff! I really enjoy writing reviews, and voicing my opinions.

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