Sunday, February 21, 2010
I just got back a little while ago from seeing "Memphis" and was an interesting experience. This show clearly has a lot of potential and lives up to most of it, but the lack of that last bit was important. The transitions were sloppy, the songs formulaic, and the scenes dragged in places. Also, the design of the show, especially the lights, seemed a bit indulgent -- spectacle for spectacle's sake without any other clear motivation for it. In other words, I was entertained but never wowed, though I felt as though I could have been had the show been slightly better. That being said, it had a LOT going for it. The show was 100% spot on in historical accuracy. According to my parents (with whom I saw the show), the racial tensions and interactions really did occur the way they did in the show, and the issues relating to the cross over of the music from black radio to white radio were right on, too -- they remember having conversations about Rock & Roll that were right in line with what was presented in the show. The acting was also pretty good, though not excellent. There was a number of stellar featured performances, particularly from James Monroe Iglehart, J. Bernard Calloway, and Cass Morgan. The two leads, Montego Glover and Chad Kimball, gave strong but occasionally inconsistent performances. The physical design (sets and costumes) added to the production and gave the show the right feel. Overall, this was a good show that could have been great, but it's still worth the price of admission.