Tuesday, March 31, 2015

iOW@ (I Got Lost On The Way To Oklahoma)

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing 'iOW@' (Iowa), a musical that I saw as a part of the TRaC, or the Teen Reviewers and Critics, Program, run by Arts Connection. It's a great program, and they do it for completely free! Check them out here. Anyway, into the review!

Image Credit to broadwayworld.com and Jessica Fallon Gordan Photography
Cast of iOW@

The story follows a 14 year old girl. She has to deal with moving with her mother (so that her mother can marry a man she met on Facebook), being in love with her 40 year old, balding math Teacher, and not having friends.

Most of the musical is utterly pointless. There, I said it. What I mean by that, is that the primary story/character development could have been covered in a 10-15 minute play. Instead, we are "treated" to an hour and 45 minute musical. The songs, while fun with witty verbal humor, have no relevance to the plot. They are entirely random tunes and lyrics. In fact, there's a TEN MINUTE song about... life's problems as sister wives? Or something? And there's even a song sung by a pony/man where he sings about how ponies are never in committed relationships; they can only ever sleep around. Simply stupid and pointless.

Then, there are the pointless monologues. In the first scene, the mother character has a 15, maybe 25? minute rant. No, not rant. A ramble. About everything from Jesus the Janitor, to Sex Ed, to Islam, to Lesbians. And it just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and... And while it advances the story somewhat, it could do so while being much less boring.

A lot of the show seems to be going for laughs by using non-sequiturs. And while a few of them are funny (I heard my new favorite joke), most of them aren't. There's the running gag with the pony, which has nothing to do with the plot, and there's a monologue by a cheerleader who's talking about how "cheerleaders are people too". And while that's true, I don't need to hear it said over and over again. wjlb ehifbeilgbfegfbhyefgbegfbulfgbufgbfugfiiqewvfio (That was me emphasizing the point by smashing my head into my keyboard.)

One last thing about the story, and then I'll move on. The main character's best friend: She starts out as a decent character. She's from a broken home. She's abused at home. She's bulimic. Pretty good start for a powerful and moving character arc. Except, not. That amazing potential is wasted by the mother "fixing" her at first attempt by saying that she "looks bulimic" and "could be in Auschwitz", and boom! she's fixed! Yeah. A Holocaust joke. Not funny.

Now, onto the acting. I actually like the acting and singing. All of the actors do what they can with this utterly garbage story and these utterly garbage characters. And the singing is really good. I enjoy all of the actors' voices. That's all I can really say about that.

And the music is good. Surprisingly good. The tunes are catchy, the instrumentals are beautiful, and the lyrics are oftentimes clever and witty. Though it would be better if the songs were, you know, actually RELEVANT to the story. 

All in all... No. Just, no. Don't go to see this. I know that sounds harsh. Especially considering how positive I've been about bad movies in the past. But no. This is inexcusable. I've seen better storytelling from a group of 14-17 year old playwrights! Other than a few funny moments, this is a horrible musical. One of the worst I've ever seen, hands down.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off (in an absolute huff)!

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