Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FRINGE: Bunked!: A New Musical

Beware the buzzed-about Fringe show. It's impossible to guess how shows will fare until they begin performances and it's often the ones that sound best on paper that end up disappointing. Bunked!, a musical about summer camp counselors, sounds like a campy (pun only partially intended) good time, but the lack of dramatic tension makes for a tedious evening.

Each counselor is a stereotype: Anabel (Amanda Jane Cooper) the goody two shoes, her flamboyant twin Oliver (Tim Ehrlich), Carmen (Lizzie Klemperer) the bitch with a heart of gold underneath, Max (Jake Loewenthal) the boy with a secret, and Stewart (Ben Moss) the over-achiever who is sick of doing what his parents want. There are themes of summer romance and jealousy, but there isn't much of a story arc. In the opening song, "Best Summer Ever," Seth Sikes's direction is over-the-top, setting the audience up for silliness, but the show ends up being too sincere for its own good. When serious topics such as suicide are introduced, they feel forced, and the characters are too one-dimensional for us to care, as much as the hard-working cast tries. The most successful bits of the evening are the loudspeaker announcements provided by Michael Urie.

The songs by Alaina Kunin (book, lyrics) and Bradford Proctor (music, book, lyrics) do not propel the story enough to be necessary and though they are pleasantly tuneful, they all sound alike.

The show is sponsored by LogoTV and the quickly resolved plot points would lend themselves to a YouTube series, which seems like a logical step for this show, rather than another production.

Remaining performances are Fri 20 at 4:15, Sat 21 at 2:15, Sun 22 at 8, and Wed 25 at 10:45 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.


Unknown said...

Wholeheartedly agree with your review. of "Bunked." I was hoping the show would turn somewhere but it followed a straight, trite path.

Linda said...

Thank you so much, Bill. I felt like I was the only one at the theater who didn't love it, so it's nice to know someone else felt the same way.