VShow Preview Review #119

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The Varsity Show cast

The evening began informally with Olivia Harris, CC ’14, jiving around the small stage, which was enough to put any audience member in a good mood.  She sassily sang along to the classic songs the band was playing, making us wish we could have heard more of her voice later on in the preview.  When the full cast ran onstage the energy was contagious, and it was obvious the audience was already on their side. The actors showed their personality from the get-go, making them an endearing group of performers to watch.

The first song, “My Heart’s Content,” was admittedly not a winner.  There did not appear to be a strong melody, and the actors seemed to have trouble following the written vocal lines.  The charisma of the performers helped to remedy that, however, and it was quickly followed by a stream of relevant jokes.  The mention of the Arts Initiative issue was both funny and relevant as it addressed an important controversy; we hope to see the show explore and elaborate this in the main plot.  Brownstones, Hurricane Sandy, and Amigos all made small appearances. Overall, the jokes were on-point and up to date, leaving behind the recycled jokes we usually hear at V-Show previews.

Although all Varsity Shows are expected to be rife with Barnard jokes, this year they seemed to be funny and far less offensive.  To mock the tragic Housing Crisis, girls pretended to sleep in tents on Low Steps (“between the two non-functional phallus-fountains”). In the same way, the usual inebriated Saturday night did not take place in a bar, per sé: Mel’s was still a restaurant at the point the scene took place. However, the scene didn’t resonate with its audience.  Does anyone go on a date to Mel’s? Regardless, the acting talents (because there was no singing…) of Rebecca Farley, CC ’16, Jonah Weinstein, CC ’16, and Molly Heller, GS/JTS ’15, came through.  Farley has the facial expressions of an adorably quirky cartoon character and is undeniably magnetic, as are Weinstein and Heller. Special kudos to John Fisher, CC ’16, for his incredible dancing prowess—his skills are something we rarely see on the Columbia musical theatre stage.

The most unexpected joke throughout the evening was the reference to the FroSci fiasco, given that it happened only two days before the preview. A crafty Bwogger picked up pages of the evening’s script that someone had left behind and saw that the scene had been written as something else entirely, and was quickly shifted to mock the now-famous scene. Props for the quick turn-around. Though a good deal of the jokes fell flat, this addition was quite clever and must be commended.

The West End Preview is not intended to reveal the plot of the final show, so we cannot make out exactly what it will be.  However, the evening’s goal should be to hint at some of the big jokes and scenes and give the audience a taste of its music.  Unfortunately, this year’s preview did not achieve the second half; only two songs were performed, neither of which were very memorable.  The cast’s voices came through, but we wish we’d had more of a chance to experience the musical style.  We hope the songs are in the writing and look forward to hearing them in May.

Overall, the Preview was certainly entertaining, but lacking in the amount and quality of songs it performed.  Hopefully the numbers will eventually prove impressive, since the music is obviously intrinsic to the success of the show.   The cast is energetic and exciting to watch, and we look forward to seeing what the team comes up with in the next few months.

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  1. happy birthday olivia!  

    can't wait for the varsity show!

  2. Anonymous  

    A fair (albeit a tad generous) review. Well done.

  3. CC '14  

    I'm not sure if the reviewer saw the same show that I did (and I know the West End Preview isn't supposed to be a polished product), but last night's 10:30 p.m. show was extremely subpar and wrought with awkward silence. The cast seemed to be lost and uncomfortable with their lines and lyrics, a majority of the jokes fell flat and were met with crickets, and the lyrics were far from funny. Aside from Molly Heller's hilarious facial expressions, few moments had the entire room laughing, which is a relatively difficult feat since we were all there to laugh and get excited about the show.

    I'm not saying I was expecting a gorgeous, finished product, but it would've been nice to hear some funny songs and see some clever scenes since the Varsity Show is a comedic musical.

  4. So wait  

    They basically just copied CUMB's Orgo Night format?

  5. Anonymous

    1. oh come on bwog, you don't even have it in you to write an honest review of the vshow preview this year? down. the. tubes.

    2. what about michael!?!?!?!?

  6. Anonymous  

    No pictures? Killin it Bwog.

  7. Anonymous  

    This year's preview was awkward not memorable at all... what show did you see bwog? Kudos to the cast for remaining in the moment though despite the awkward pauses and audience.

  8. Ok  

    The preview wasn't bad. I was at the 10:30 showing and I found it to be amusing, albeit a little awkward at times (some things just didn't seem to work as well as the writers/actors may have intended).

    But on the same note, I wasn't walking in expecting a Broadway spectacle. You have to remember that the show has only been in the works for about a month. For a month's work the cast did amazing, the songs were catchy, and I can't wait to see the actual performance in May!

  9. astr0notmikedexter

    Skylar GOT(lieb) talent, #amirite?!

  10. somebody that i used to know  

    I thought the music was great, Bwog! People left singing that last You do You song... and the funky hip hop jam the band did at the beginning was so cool!!!

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