If you want a true fringe experience, go see the Andy Warhol Musical: In Rehearsal. It strongly states before the production begins that you are watching a work in progress and that is exactly what you are getting. It is a performance that includes moments of the best and not-so-best theatre I have ever seen.
Let’s start with the best. Before the lights go down, the actors are all over the space, stretching and talking to each other, you know immediately that this is going be a show with strong dancing and amazing choreography. You also feel immersed in the setting of Andy Warhol’s infamous Silver Factory. I love how the transition into the world of the show happens as soon as we enter the theatre.
The ensemble musical numbers come at the beginning, middle and end, with the strongest one being in the middle. These numbers cover compelling original themes and feature strong, fairly unique choreography and nice harmonies akin to shows like Rent and A Chorus Line. Another musical highlight is the penultimate number of the show sung by Chase Winnicky who plays Candy Darling. The solo song and scene exhibit the potential of the show’s concept because this number is a true home run. I was in tears.
Now for the not-so-best: the show features projections throughout, which include photos and quotes from Andy. These do nothing to add to the show and actually distract from the performance.
The show has no premise; there is a bit of a through line, but I don’t know how to feel or what to take away after the show. If they stuck with one central premise/theme, it would have been more impactful. It is almost like an all you can eat buffet of stories and ideas, and often feels like a bunch of actors reading from an Andy Warhol history textbook.
Lastly, the casting is hit or miss. This is to be expected in the fringe, but I feel if they shuffled around some of the actors into different roles it could have been slightly more impactful.
Overall, the Andy Warhol Musical is worth watching and has some great moments. Go check it out at Theatre Passe Maurille, Thursday July 12 at 1:45pm and Saturday July 14 at 9:15pm.