All Our Pretty Songs

ensemble theatre · schularan productions · Ages 16+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by CHAMBERS STEVENS

June 09, 2019 certified reviewer

What I liked

This is a play that every young person in LA should see. It deals with dreams and if you have the talent and drive to achieve them. But Brahan smartly doesn’t dig out the same ole showbiz troupes. Instead he dig deep. Exploring anxiety and passion, making us laugh one minute and gasp in horror the next. The characters make bad decisions and yet their justifications are modern and heartfelt. What saves them is their friendship. Something you rarely see in a play.

What I didn't like

What I admired about the play so much is Brahan’s refusal to play by the rules. I am 30 years older than these characters. When I listen to ‘alternative’ rock songs I don’t hear what kids of the 90’s hear. In that was All Our Pretty Songs is like an ‘alternative’ rock song. Its’ lack of structure at first frustrates you. But this is where Schultz’s strong direction comes in. He starts to pull out the melody of the play. Until it starts to really sing. But the end we were cheering. I can’t wait to see their next work.

My overall impression

The team of John Brahan and Dan Schultz won the Fight the Power award last year. I saw that play and I really liked it. But All Our Pretty Songs is a big leap up. Both Brahan’s writing and Schultz direction have matured and grown in exciting ways. And the addition of a third partner, Shanlie Phillips really adds a great element to their work.

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