Saturday, August 11, 2012

Barn Players "Revolution" review by JLin

A Fine Tribute
Rating: 3

Revolution: A Tribute to the Beatles
The Barn Players, Inc.

This weekend marks the annual Barn Players fundraiser, and with only three performances, you could easily miss your chance to catch the show so make your plans now! "Revolution: A Tribute to the Beatles", conceived and directed by Eric Van Horn, features a talented 14 member cast and 4 piece band. To ensure that they can raise the most money possible, not a single dime was spent on this production, not even to pay the participants. Because of that, even your ticket price can be considered a charitable donation! Friday and Sunday, admission is $20 at the door. Saturday night's performance is $35 at the door; the evening begins at 6:00 pm and includes a silent auction, a full dinner, and an open bar.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a dress rehearsal/press night on Wednesday, so I got a sneak peek of the show to come. Two acts, stuffed with 46 Beatles songs and several videos on their history, provide a night of entertainment. The composition of the show and the tech designs are superb and the creative team is to be commended for their hard work.

The performance itself had a few hiccups, many of which were technical, and I hope will they be worked out before opening night. Microphones were cutting in and out, light cues were slow, the band often drowned out the ends of the voiceovers, and a wireless guitar just refused to turn on at one point. These are all easy fixes, but if left alone they could potentially spoil an otherwise decent performance.

As far as the vocals go, I was torn. There were some really amazing performances but others didn't quite hit the mark. I felt that there were several solos that were given to the wrong people just for the sake of giving everyone in the cast a turn. The parts were either out of their range or not suited to their particular vocal quality. Of course, it is also possible that they weren't in their best voice. I have definitely been there as a performer and can understand the agony of squeaking on a high note that you usually nail or even losing your voice completely in the middle of a number. Hopefully everyone will be healthy and in top form for opening night. It is clear that everyone in the cast can sing well – if I didn't care for someone in one song, they usually redeemed themselves with another solo later on – they just need to do so consistently.

That being said, I want to give credit where credit is due. The stand out vocal performances were "I Should Have Known Better", "Ticket to Ride", "Help", "We Can Work It Out", "Eleanor Rigby", "Strawberry Fields", "With A Little Help From My Friends", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Dear Prudence", and "Something". The one song that stole the show was "Yesterday", sung by Kristen Altoro. It brought tears to my eyes from both the beautiful sound and the excellent display of emotion. She simply sat on a stool and told a sad story with her music. If for nothing other than to hear this song, make sure you make it out to the Barn. Then you can say you saw Altoro in action before she hit the big time.

Overall, this was an entertaining show, especially if you're a Beatles fan. Please support the Barn Players by attending one of the three performances of Revolution and tell a friend or 10!

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