“HIGH FIDELITY”: The Movie is Awesome!

High Fidelity
The Route 66 Theatre Company
Pipers Alley
Chicago, Illinois
August 20, 2009

My all-time “Top Five” reasons this production of High Fidelity doesn’t work…

#5. Too much of a good thing: Talented cast way under-utilized with limited character material. It’s most obvious when everyone is herded out on the stage to just sing back-up. Superfluous! Cut the cast by half. Let the actors double up on parts, for more of an opportunity to showcase their individual abilities. Retooling with creative casting would be more true to the High Fidelity essence and less about being a big Broadway musical production.

#4. Techno No: Give Marty and Bobby the rest of the run, off. Projected images of records, old girlfriends, The Boss are unnecessary. If the script is strong enough, cheap techno props aren’t needed to tell the story. Oh wait… I see the problem.

#3. It’s not funny: Housed in the Second City building that has launched a plethora of comedy legends, like, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Tina Fey, there is an expectation of, at minimum, a chuckle. Nothing! I was painfully aware of occasional chortles and giggles, rippling through the audience, from what I guess to be friends of the cast or suburbanites. Channel the legends and tweak the script.

#2. Stef Tovar, you’re too old to play Rob: I tell you this, because I’d want someone to tell me. Give up that dream, Stef! If Star Wars was a musical, I’d want someone to tell me that I couldn’t play Princess Leia (for more reasons than age) and probably could only be considered for a storm trooper. As Artistic Director, you know it’s true, Stef. So, I’ll leave you with one last word of advice, “Ian.”

#1. Did you see the movie? Rob, Dick and Barry would never come to see this depiction of their lives. This version took their rock & roll and “down with the establishment” existence and High School Musical-ed it. How can I believe Rob is this dead beat, stoner rebel if every time he sings about Laura, it sounds like Grease’s “…stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool…?” If High Fidelity is suppose to be a musical, perhaps it should be more Mama Mia and use classic rock to tell the story. If copyrighting is too expensive, what would Rob, Dick, and Barry do? Pirate the songs! Now, that’s staying true to the rebel essence!

My all-time “Top Five” things I liked in High Fidelity: Michael Mahler, Dana Tretta, the musicians interchanging instruments, free Doritos and #1. It made me nostalgic to rent the movie.

My seatmates, James and Bill’s all-time “Top Five” comments on this performance: talented cast, songs not memorable, disjointed, too long and “Nick Hornby won’t be happy.”

 WAITING FOR THE SHOW

 Add-ons to my all-time “Top Five” things I liked about High Fidelity

(#6.) I liked a bar available in the theatre, (#7.) an encouragement to drink during the performance (you need a little something, something) and (#8.) sitting at a table for drink placement. Post show across the street at Corcoran’s (1615 N Wells): (#9.) we scored a table in the quieter coach house to enjoy a breezy summer night without being victim to the down pour. (#10.) Jalapeno poppers with cream cheese (you were so right, James!)

 Add-ons to my all-time “Top Five” reasons this production doesn’t work…
(#6.) I didn’t like the Dixie plastic glasses of wine (seriously, it’s a fricking musical, not a bad ass concert), (#7.) water only available for purchase and (#8.) the round for three people with tip, $24 (and the water was from Costco, come on!). Post show at Corcoran’s, (#9.) all the servers look alike so it was hard to wave down the right one (#10.) when exiting, we had to walk past the cast drinking at the bar. I always like to compliment actors, but I left with only a whisper of “Good luck with that!”

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