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Narcissus & Echo

mount olympus · Ages 13+ · flashing lights · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by NIKKI MULLER

June 11, 2017 certified reviewer

What I liked

Fantastic cast that works together seamlessly to create the world, and invite us into their party from the very beginning, performing their physical and vocal warmups with us in the house without any divide. It’s like a room of cool new people who decided to make you their friend.

The comic timing is impressive in virtually all actors to the point where it seems unfair to single any of them out in this review— I found myself laughing out loud most of the hour. (I do still want to shout out the Sirens in particular for working together wonderfully and being both hilarious and absolutely lovely vocally— Echo’s voice, also, is arrestingly gorgeous, appropriately.) In particular, my favorite comedy of the piece was how the cast would often riff off into musical jokes/plays within the genre they were singing. Really impressive physical work going on here too, with everyone moving in tandem in a fluid, loose way that occasionally snaps into a truly remarkable precision— Europa’s work in particular was extraordinary. There is also a nice emotional backbone to the piece that I appreciated, and found when it hit, it hit hard— I was surprised to find myself welling up, especially after having so much goofy fun.

I also really appreciate that they created this piece with a purpose not only to entertain, but to educate, awaken, and change the world (a part of ticket proceeds go to the cause they are championing, and that’s legit.)

What I didn't like

My only critique would be that initially there were a couple moments in the story that were confusing, as it straddles myth with a parallel reality in a way that isn’t immediately clear, but I eventually got there. I went into the piece knowing absolutely nothing about what to expect, and I kind of enjoyed the journey out of that ignorance as a part of it. So I guess I didn’t really “didn’t like” it, after all!

My overall impression

Essentially a mythical version of “Hair” that centers on water scarcity, Narcissus and Echo is performed with bold confidence by the entire ensemble— any moments of story that aren’t immediately clear to the audience are entirely made up for by the brisk, decisive performances that pull us along, even if we aren’t entirely sure of what direction that might be. I really enjoyed the ride.

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