Gutenberg! The Musical! (review)

Gutenberg! The Musical! (review)
Gutenberg! The Musical! (review)
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THE PLAY: Two eager writers act out their new musical about the inventor of the printing press for an audience of potential backers.


THE PRODUCTION: This play walks the line between intentionally-bad theatrical tropes and genuinely funny spoof. The attempts at humor often feel like a desperate skit on SNL, although the opening nite audience seemed to enjoy it more than I did. While the actors (Chris Hester & Paul S. Major) never let the energy lag, neither possess the comic skills that could have elevated this into something genuinely hilarious. When not playing the writers, the duo dons caps with the names of the characters. As the writers, they’re acting the roles. The characters are all broad takes on trite stereotypes. The songs are unmemorable, but do feature some clever lyrics (Major’s voice wasn’t up to the vocals). Leilani Fenick capably accompanies them on the keyboard. Director Jan Guarino milks every bit of funny business out of the proceedings, especially working the “cap” business to maximum effect. The tech elements are intentionally scrappy. Running time: 1:30


THE POINT: There’s a fine distinction between playing “intentionally bad” and skillfully making it funny. While lightly amusing, this eager farce is more unpolished than crisply comic.


2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)


A Quill Theatre production at the Gottwald Playhouse, Dominion Energy Center thru 11/3.


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