It’s Double Take December at Musical Cyberspace! Every musical pretty much has something one likes and something one doesn’t in it. This month I’ll be listing one of each for a range of musicals, a different one each day.
Once On This Island
Something I Like: The show also has a score that carries you away: like the best work by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, it’s packed with beauty and emotion. (Of course, there is a slight compromise made because of that – see the following paragraph.) I also like that Ahrens offers the option of alternative lines to allow for multi-ethnic stagings of the show. People probably would have done it anyway, but at least the show retains its integrity this way. An admirable, pro-active decision.
Something I Don’t Like: I’m not sure the framework is fully realised, although it comes to an emotional conclusion in “Why We Tell the Story”. But is catharsis really all there is to the story told in Once on This Island? Can a world that is not separated by race and class emerge out of that catharsis? Surely that hope is a major part of telling the story too, more so that it is acknowledged in the show’s concluding number? Otherwise, what hope is there for a small girl crying in fear because of thunderous skies?
Feel free to share your “double take” on Once On This Island in the comment box!