A true story of a man who dug up the love of his life is a musical called ‘It Happened in Key West.’
Yes, it did happen in Key West. In the 1940’s, Count Carl Von Cosel fell in love with a woman, Elena, he was treating for tuberculosis. She died, but von Cosel was so infatuated and in love with her that he dug up her body and, for over 7 years, lived with her, well not really with her but with her body, in his house, in Key West.
Now playing at the Charing Cross Theatre, with book, music and lyrics by Jill Santoriello, book and additional lyrics by Jason Huza, and book and original content by Jeremiah Janes who all collaborated together to create this musical, while a bit on the funny side, is too morbid and too silly to be taken seriously, and not funny enough to be camp and over the top.
Having said that, Wade Mccollum is great as the Count. He’s got a great singing voice, especially in a song where he pines for Elena (‘Undying Love’ and ‘I’ve Never Felt This way’) are two standouts. He commands the stage and surely belongs in the West End but in a better show. Alyssa Martyn is just fine as Elena, who surprisingly dies before the first half is finished – it might’ve made more sense to have her die after the first half, but she does sing ‘I Feel Love,’ while dead, in the second half, and comes ‘back to life’ at the very end to sing, beautifully, in the finale. Director and Choreographer Marc Robin doesn’t have a whole lot to work with, it seems like the same 12 boxes remained as the set the whole way through the show. ‘It Happened in Key West,’ billed as a New Romantic Musical Comedy, is not much of a musical nor a comedy.
Grindr: The Opera
An operatic version of the Gay App Grindr is literally bringing down the house at Above the Stag Theatre.
It’s ‘Grindr the Opera – an unauthorized parody’ where all types of men that can be found on the app (if you have used the app you would recognize these types, however most gay men don’t confess to being on the popular app) come to life in this singing musical that encompasses all that Grindr has to offer, from the lows to the very lows. And it’s through Grindr himself (sung by the amazing Christian Lunn) who takes us on the journey of these characters. First there is young man Jack (William Spencer) who, at age 18, is navigating this world for the first time. Then we have Tim (Matthew Grove – great singer) who is experienced in using the app to get what he wants. Then we have the ever romantic doctor Devon (David Malcolm), who is looking more for a boyfriend than a one night stand. And of course there is Don (a fabulous Dereck Walker), a man we’ve all encountered on Grindr before – he’s ‘straight’ with a wife and two kids yet he’s extremely in the closet and has a kinky side that eventually gets him into trouble. Combine these characters with music and what you’ve got is a show that is funny, extremely entertaining, and just plain realistic! And the music is superb! Writer Eric Ransom cleverly writes about Grindr through the lens of operatic melodies and timely songs such as ”Manhunt,” and “We Met on Grindr” are appropriately-named while “Cum-Dumpster” is inappropriate yet relevant and hilarious! And all of us can relate to Filling Out a Profile, No Strings Attached and The Clinic – LOL!! It’s pure musical genius! Go see ‘Grindr the Opera – an unauthorized parody’ before it ends on August 26th.
Also catch their other show concurrently playing – ‘The Penetration Play.’
Both reviews by Tim Baros