The Adding Machine: Odyssey Theatre, 1/23/11

27 01 2011

The Adding Machine: Review for EDGE Los Angeles

Let’s be honest: I hate writing bad reviews. I always feel a twinge of guilt, because the creative team, cast, and crew have put such time and effort into the production – even if the end result is less than stellar. As a composer and a music director myself, I understand the agonies of pouring countless hours into a production that falls just short. I have done it myself. Take the recent UCLA production of Is There Life After High School that I music directed, for instance. While it was a fun and nostalgic revue that delighted many an audience member, I am my own worst critic. I could have written a review pointing out countless problems with the script and production itself. I had an absolutely wonderful collaborative experience working on this show. But all the while, I was hyperaware of the show’s faults.

A critic’s job is to be precisely that: critical. I hope this review of The Adding Machine comes across as gracious, but honest. It’s no less than what I would want for a show that I had personally worked on: a lens towards improvement, pointing out both the positives and the negatives. I am thrilled that the Odyssey has tackled such a challenging chamber opera and I will likely see it again, simply to hear one of my favorite new musical theater scores performed so well. But I can’t help but point out all the unfulfilled potential here!

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