musicals and operas · international music net · Ages 9+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 17, 2019 certified reviewer

What I liked

Story, theme, characters, acting, music.

What I didn't like

Set and costumes, but it didn’t really bother me….it’s fringe!

My overall impression

Monkey Mind is a delightful yet deeply moving musical that touches its audience’s heart with a simple but poignant message. The story centers around a family struggling with the loss of the mother, lacking the words, time and luxury to heal. Father and daughter, played beautifully by Corey Page (Frank) and Darcy Rose Byrnes (Lacey), are at an impasse in their relationship. Lacey courageously decides to enter a singing contest in an effort to win $100,000 to alleviate her father’s stress, but her inner voices, her Monkey Mind, try to sabotage her at every step. Terri Weiss’ ingenious use of the characters Monkey Positive, Monkey Crazy, Monkey Negative, provides an acutely painful yet utterly relatable portrayal of the destructive and often dangerous nature of our Monkey Minds at work. Hugely talented actress Tori Cott delivers a wonderfully authentic and often very funny performance as Monkey Crazy, with an outstanding commitment to her role. The story climaxes with Lacey’s near suicide and her voice coach, sensitively portrayed by Karla Kelly (Jeanie), talks her down, reminding her of the overarching theme of the play, the rules of life that free us from the grips of the drunk monkey in our heads – live life right here and now, treasure our beloveds, do what we love and believe in ourselves. Terri Weiss has created a beautiful piece of work that is sure to warm the heart of all who have the good fortune to see it. The candor and authenticity of the writing, combined with the play’s gently moving music, the excellent performances of the cast and undeniable truth of its inherent message, provide more than just a fun afternoon at the theater. I left with my heart full of love, a renewed commitment to being present, and a joyful appreciation of my life. I’d say that was pretty good going, wouldn’t you?

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