Shubop-Dubay-Had: The No Matter Watt PreQuel

Cabaret & Variety · gordon stephen matheson jr · Ages 16+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 18, 2022 encore judge

What I liked

The hummable music, emotive choreography, and pervasive you-can-do-it spirit all clicks, despite the lack of narrative. The score and choreography give the show that enigmatic “flow”, or continual sense of forward motion, that few musicals achieve. I left wanting more.

What I didn't like

The affable Mr. Matheson remains the master of mystery, omitting swaths of exposition the audience desperately needs in order to understand what’s going on. How did Shubop transition from substance abuser to adored community leader? Are his much-mentioned secrets nefarious or benevolent? If they’re secrets, why does everyone seem to know about them? Is “Bumdinger Chasenipples” really an advisable name for a character? What exactly is a (noun) No Matter Watt? While there’s plenty of precedent for free-associational musicals, a little bit of structure and narrative would go a long way.

My overall impression

I enjoyed it! I left confused, but the catchy songlets, positive energy, and indefatigable sincerity won me over.

To the newcomer I say: don’t worry if you haven’t seen the original No Matter Watt. It won’t hurt if you haven’t, and it won’t help if you have.

Shubop feels like a topical revue, perhaps in the spirit of Hair. It’s structured like an AA meeting, full of direct-to-audience confessions, fragments of personal journeys, chanted mantras, random hugs, and gobs of mutual support. Don’t look for a coherent story, but there’s definitely something appealing about this rough-hewn piece.

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