Tag Archives: Review

FC Theater rolls perfectly into Guys and Dolls

Photo by Presley Vanover

Story by Gracie Vanover

As the lights dim sophomore Syd Landrum slips out from behind the curtain in a magnificent blue dress. As she gracefully strolls down the stairs the other Hotbox Girls follow behind. 

FC Theater opened their run of Guys and Dolls on Nov. 8 and are running the show through Nov. 17. This classic theatre production is a hit for audiences of all ages with fun musical numbers and a great storyline. 

Our story takes place in New York with streets full of gamblers and their ever-so-lovely dolls. The number one thing on most these gamblers minds however is not their beautiful dolls. It is their favorite game: craps. 

Nathan Detroit, played by freshman Haakan Packwood, is out to have his craps game but is low on funds. He and his pals decide to bet the notorious Sky Masterson, played by senior Nick Landrum, that he cannot take the missionary Sarah Brown, played by Grace Platt, to Havana. Sky gratefully accepts the deal and the race is on. 

One of the best scenes in this production is the scene including the number “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Junior Tre Gaines brings the character of Nicely Nicely Johnson to life in this scene with his charisma. Along with the vocals of Gaines, the scene is full of color from the array of costumes and backdrop. 

Another great number from this show is “Take Back Your Mink” performed by  Miss Adelaide, played by Caroline Siegrist, and the other Hotbox Girls. This number is a silly little number full of drama and the occasional whistle from a man in the background. The song is full of playful lyrics and at the end the girls scoop everything back up and say “Well, wouldn’t you?” With even little phrases like that it gives character, especially with the high pitched girly voices. 

In this show there are two sets of vocal combos that are absolutely stunning. Platt and Siegrist in the song “Marry the Man Today” have an amazing blend and tone quality. Their voice combination pulled an astounding reaction from the audience full of clapping and whistling. 

The other amazing vocal combination is Landrum and Platt. In the song, “I’ll Know” the two sing of when and how they will know they are in love. Platt’s unique voice style plays off of Landrum’s lower tone and creates a lovely mix. “I’ll Know” is definitely one of my favorites in the show along with the song “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” mentioned beforehand. 

Overall, FC Theater’s production of Guys and Dolls is one you do not want to miss. There are still shows this weekend. Tickets range depending on seating and the age of the ticket holder. For tickets and more information go to: http://www.floydcentraltheatre.org

Melanie Martinez ends music hiatus with K-12

Art and story by: Scarlett Hatton

For years, many loyal fans have long-awaited Melanie Martinez’s return to the music industry. However, on Sept. 3, 2019, Martinez surprised her supporters with a 90-minute film that she directed and a studio album that she produced, ending their wait. K-12, the film, includes 13 of Martinez’s highly anticipated tracks from her newest album with dialogue in between. With aid from her unique style and artistic lyrics, the album landed number three on the U.S. Billboard 200, and the film has gained over 31 million views on YouTube. Despite this, her followers still wonder if K-12 was truly worth the wait.

 

The film takes a twisted take on a normal musical. It follows a headstrong, clever little girl named Crybaby [played by Martinez] and her supportive best friend, Angelita [played by Elita Harkov], as they are sent off to a foreboding sleepaway school with dictatorial leaders. The movie has an innocent, light aesthetic that adds to the creepy situation the characters are being put in. These contrasting manners of purity and brutality can be observed in many of Martinez’s older songs such as “Dollhouse.” The lyrics to this 2015 single include, “Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces. Everyone thinks that we’re perfect; please don’t let them look through the curtains.” 

Years later, Martinez carries forward this message of hiding pain behind beauty and innocence. K-12 continues this tone throughout the entire film as Crybaby quite literally tears her evil principal apart while wearing her bright, pink dress. While this might be too dark for some viewers, others appreciate this artful approach to portray insanity and to illustrate the inhumanity of modern school systems.

 

Nearly every Melanie Martinez song confronts a problem in society. While her lyrics do an excellent job of portraying these issues, the film was so important to help tackle them head-on and show real-life examples that her audience can relate to. This album alone exhibits the effects of a negative body image, eating disorders, bullying, gender roles, fake friends, and many other serious topics. The song “Orange Juice” is about a girl with bulimia learning to accept herself. A lyric says, “Your body is imperfectly perfect. Everyone wants what the other one’s working.” This message is absolutely necessary for young people to hear given the growing mental health issues faced in society.

 

Martinez is also completely vulnerable in the song “Show and Tell.” While it is unclear if the song was written about her personal life, specifically, it can be assumed the message of the song is very close to her. The lyrics say, “Buy and sell, like I’m a product to society.” In the film, Crybaby was trapped inside of the school. She felt like she was being controlled by power-hungry villains. The principal made her feel worthless with his unjust rules and she would do whatever it took to get herself out. She said, “Pretending everything’s alright is detention.” Martinez made K-12 to share this message to her audience. Aside from the magic, singing, and dancing, the film was very realistic to modern society in some form or another. Martinez’s ability to connect with these real-life situations through art is definitely one of her biggest strengths.

 

After taking a three-year hiatus, high expectations were set for Martinez’s album. It is hard to deny the visual appeal of the film and the beautiful message that it portrayed. However, there were some problems with the film that needs to be addressed. There were so many different subplots that each felt incomplete and lacked a true value to the overall theme. This made the main plot harder to follow and understand. At times it seemed as if it has been just 13 music videos strung together without any order. Furthermore, the dialogue between songs felt weak and messy at times. Instead of connecting the songs together, the remarks just seemed to be there to fill up time. It is a shame that the plot could not live up to the beautiful costumes and amazing albums that Martinez is known for.

 

K-12 continues to expand Martinez’s audience and break music records. It is clear that so much well-spent time, money, and production went into making the film possible. Ultimately, Martinez made the film available on many different platforms for free which was such an admirable thing to do, especially if she was trying to spread awareness and positivity. As Crybaby said in the film, “Everyone is worthy of love.”

 

Tracklist:

Wheels on the Bus

Class Fight

The Principal

Show & Tell

Nurse’s Office

Drama Club

Strawberry Shortcake 

Lunchbox Friends

Orange Juice 

Detention 

Teacher’s Pet

High School Sweethearts 

Recess

 

Visuals: A+

Plot: B-

Acting: A-

Production: A+

Vocals: A+

Songwriting: A

Overall: A-

 

K-12 the film: https://youtu.be/2HtaIvb61Uk

 

Fans rain praise on The Umbrella Academy

Art By Sam Haney

Story By Eleni Pappas

A day beginning like every other ends with the world forever changed when something strange occurs to women all over the globe.

Dozens of mostly-single women conceive, carry, and give birth within a matter of minutes on the same day, at the exact same time. The children of these women are special in more ways than the circumstances of their instant birth and conception. Not only do they grow up to display miraculous abilities, but these children are destined to save the world.

It was a day beginning like every other — that is, until Netflix premiered “The Umbrella Academy” on Feb. 15. Based on the comic written by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, who also serve as executive producers for the show, the series centers on the seven adopted super children of eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves. The show stars more than a few notable names, including Robert Sheehan (Misfits), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), and Ellen Page (Juno).

The story opens up in the year 1989, with an anonymous narrator describing the inexplicable births of 43 children all over the world. Sir Hargreeves make it his mission to adopt as many of these children as possible and manages to find and adopt seven of them. He raises them in the Academy to train as heroes rather than live as kids, and only when he builds them a robotic mother are they given real names.

Number One is Luther (Tom Hopper), Two is Diego (David Castañeda), Three is Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Four is Klaus (Sheehan), and Seven is Vanya (Page). In the present the unnamed Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), has been missing for many years after he used his time travel ability to disappear into the future. Number Six, Ben (Justin H. Min), is stated to be deceased, presumably murdered on a childhood mission.

In the present, all the siblings are now 30, estranged from each other and the team long disbanded. Each of them are messed up in their own unique ways due to the strange nature of their upbringing. The sudden death of Sir Hargreeves brings them back together for the funeral, but things remain highly tense between the siblings. However, they are reunited in a common purpose when Number Five returns from the future, still a boy, and informs the team that the world ends in eight days. At first they think he might be crazy, but it soon becomes clear the fate of the world lies in their less-than capable hands.

“The Umbrella Academy” is a smash hit, complete with deep and complex characters, dark humor, tear jerking moments, great acting, and an incredible soundtrack. The shows continuing plot mixes those from the first few volumes, but still honors the source material while standing on its own. Gallagher, who is only 15, has been picked out as one of the most impressive actors on the series. Sheehan is another fan favorite, with arguably the most compelling character exploration as the show draws on. Sheehan as Klaus made fans both laugh and cry, being a source of much comedy in the show while also playing an addict who uses to numb his ability to speak with the dead.

On the negative side, some fans are disgusted with the perceived incest within the show. Throughout the show it becomes obvious two of the Hargreeves children have romantic feelings towards each other, which have made certain viewers uncomfortable. Other fans have defended this by saying they are not real siblings, as they are adopted, and were not raised as such. Instead, fans say they were raised simply to fight alongside each other, but not as regular siblings. Either way, for some, the romance felt unnecessary and did not fit with the rest of the show.

Do they end up saving the world and stopping the apocalypse? To find out watch all ten episodes of “The Umbrella Academy” on Netflix.

 

Discovering Irving Berlin’s Path to Blue Skies

By Hannah Tarr

Christmas Day, 1980. A group of carolers hark outside a house, singing the same song they have been singing at this same house for 26 years: “White Christmas.” But inside, the sole resident is having none of it. “They don’t understand the gift I’ve given them!” he cries. To understand this gift, we must first understand the old man: he is Irving Berlin, composer of White Christmas. In his performance as Berlin, Hershey Felder leads the audience to understand Berlin with healthy mix of comedy and respect.

The performance, playing now at Actor’s Theatre, is a one-man show. Felder, with a raise of his voice and a change in his body language, convincingly becomes Berlin for an uninterrupted hour and a half. Felder runs through the beats of Berlin’s life and how each inspired his music: his childhood in Imperial Russia, his family’s immigration to America, his father’s love for singing and the way that inspired him to become a singing waiter and eventually compose his own music. Felder performs all of Berlin’s standards over the course of the show at the grand piano at center stage. Unlike Berlin, who could only play in the key of F-sharp, Felder is an accomplished musician, and the musical segments are the highlight of the show.

Felder’s portrayal of Berlin’s life flows well from happy points to sad points. He marries Dorothy Goetz, and it seems like life is going to be blue skies forever. But five months after they return from their honeymoon, Goetz dies from typhoid. Berlin is depressed about this for a long time, but eventually is coaxed by Goetz’s brother into writing about it, and this becomes his first hit ballad. It resonates with people around the globe. But one way or another, life moves on, and soon enough Felder is showing us Berlin’s up-tempo songs again and smiling.

The set was a living room dressed for Christmastime, with a piano in the center, a wheelchair on one side to symbolize Berlin as an old man, and an armchair on the other to symbolize Berlin’s second wife, Ellin Mackay. This unit set allowed the focus to always be on Felder’s portrayal, without any distractions for gimmicks. The lights changed color with the mood- red at high moments in Berlin’s life, blue at the low. Area lights came up and dimmed smoothly as Felder walked across the stage, to appropriately keep him illuminated at all times. The set and lighting were enhanced effectively by projections. A picture frame on the back wall above the mantle was often used to show historical photographs of Berlin and his family, or video clips of Fred Astaire performing Berlin’s music in a moving picture. All the walls of the living room were sometimes used for atmospheric projections– the projected wallpaper would fade away, and be replaced by animations of Berlin’s home village burning down, or of his family’s tenement apartment in New York. The projections were soft enough that the light level never fluctuated, but still very easily visible.

By the end of the show, Felder has brought us to empathize with and understand Berlin. We know “God Bless America” is from an immigrant’s point of view, thanking the country for all of the opportunities it has given him. We know “White Christmas” is about how Christmas, which used to be his wife’s favorite holiday, was ruined for them when their infant son passed away Christmas morning. We know he grew bitter as an old man as young people like Elvis Presley took over the musical spotlight, and the world began to forget what Berlin’s music had been worth. But we know that in spite of all of this, he has reasons to count his blessings instead of sheep at night, and maybe Felder’s portrayal of this icon who was a real human will lead the audience to start doing that, too.

Felder began performing as Berlin on Sept. 5 of last year in New York. He is now taking the show around the country, and he is performing it at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville until Feb. 17.

‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ excites movie fans

Art by Shelby Pennington

By Reagan O’Farrell

A final group of people bustles into the already packed theater just as the lights go down, signaling the beginning of the film. People shift in their seats, turning off their phones as their focus now turns to the large screen before them.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts off with a bang, paralleling its predecessor of Kingsman: The Secret Service by instantly throwing moviegoers into the heat of the action. Taron Egerton returns as “Eggsy,” one of the two latest recruits to join the Kingsman, a spy organization created with the intention of upholding peace without the use of the government. Mark Strong, who plays “Merlin,” also returns, bringing with him a good portion of the comedy that makes the Kingsman movies so popular. The much-anticipated Colin Firth also returns as Harry Hart despite the seemingly fatal gunshot through the eye in the last movie.

This particular movie centers itself around a group known as The Golden Circle led by Julianne Moore as Poppy, who is the head of a major drug organization that plans on making its practices legalized by any means necessary.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle delves further into characters of whom little was really known about. Harry’s past, in particular, is subject to more scrutiny than previously, and more of Merlin’s personality is revealed through his excursions with Eggsy.

New characters are also introduced in the storyline, including Channing Tatum’s ‘Tequila,’ Halle Berry’s ‘Ginger,’ and Pedro Pascal’s ‘Whiskey.’ These players still did not quite overshadow the original characters, but Ginger and Tequila especially had fairly large roles throughout the movie. Channing Tatum did not appear in the movie nearly as often as one may have expected based on the trailers, but his presence as Tequila still impacted the actions of many characters whether or not he was on the screen.

Kingsman continues its trope of fantastical spy technology, even including a bionic arm that looks straight out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This comes as no surprise, though it did often lead to several easy wins that would never be possible without their presence. That being said, it did not hinder the movie: there are many battles that could not be solved by a nicely timed container of goop, and multiple resounding losses are faced.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle has been popular since its release on Sept. 22, possibly signaling the rise in popularity of movies that include a combination of action, adventure, and comedy. This movie blended all these genres together seamlessly, occasionally hardening back to The Secret Service in parody.

As with the first film, this movie was clever. Just like in The Secret Service where the “world ending” plot was radical though had its fair amount of reason and logic behind it, The Golden Circle has characters doing bad things for what they believe to be just reasons. While some aspects were more outlandish than others, with one of the main antagonists even bringing about some Hannibal-istic concepts, most of it was in no way entirely unheard of.

This movie does not appear to signal the end of the series: the tail end teases another sequel that may allow Kingsman to continue.

While this movie is certainly rated R for a reason, with its language, violence, and sensual content nobody can rightfully argue, it is certainly something worth seeing for the more mature audiences.