Speed-blogging Post #3: Next to Normal
I was genuinely engaged by the narrative of this pop-rock musical about a family affected by one character’s battle with bipolar depression. Which is such a pleasure because can you imagine how much of a train wreck it might have been to explore a potentially psychotic mood disorder with the same instrumentation used on American Idol? But the show manages the juxtaposition well, maintaining complexity in its narrative while benefitting from the accessibility of its score. Some particular highlights for me:
- The seductive and mysterious presence of the actor who plays the son, hanging from the pipe framework set, belting it out with a perfect pop-musical voice.
- The success of the understudy who went on as the father after brushing past some initial nerves (belied by quietly delivered solos in first number).
- The palpable sense at intermission that there were not a few folks in the audience who were finding it easy to relate.