Edges

Edges, a song cycle musical by American composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, burst onto the musical theatre scene a few years ago as a fresh and contemporary portrait of the experience of twenty-somethings in the postmodern world. It has quickly become a favourite for independent theatre companies, students at theatre school and young people in both the United States and Canada. Saint’s Alive Theatre Society’s production, now playing at the Atlantic Fringe Festival boasts not only of a cast made up of University-aged students, but also a production team made up of them as well.

This show is a very solid one. Pasek and Paul’s songs are written on a variety of subjects from Facebook, to schmoozing, tackling relationships between siblings, between couples who aren’t sure whether they are ready for “I love you” and bitter hearts taking prisoners and they tend to appeal to a wide cross section of generations and those who love musical theatre and those who do not. The four performers are all strong singers who do impressive justice to Pasek and Paul’s four part harmonies. Their sound when singing in tandem is lush, gorgeous and very powerful. This was especially the case in “Let it Be Like Breathing,” which was pretty near perfect.

Vocally, Sarah Slemko, Matthew Béasant, Taylor Long and Danielle Wilson are very strong and give impressive performances. Slemko has an especially mature and bright voice, while Long is one of those performers who lights up vibrantly whenever the focus shifts to him, which makes him instantly captivating to watch regardless of what he doing. As actors, I would encourage all four of them to mine these songs even deeper for their most interesting choices and to take them to the places where their hearts connect to them the most ardently. Slemko does this with “Perfect” and it is so moving to watch the desperation in her eyes and the way that she exerts her self-confidence, full of trepidation, and then retreats back, her inner conflict so apparent, but never forced. Similarly, Béasant’s performance in “I Once Knew” also reaches great emotional depth which gave the song the weight and substance that it deserves.

As a director Danielle Wilson does a great job of keeping the action moving and bringing the characters together to create relationships, which is always a challenge in a song cycle. The choreography is fun and well executed as well. I did find that perhaps imposing such a strict linear narrative on the show may have needlessly simplified or limited the scope of some of the songs. Edges reflects a messy world and it felt a little too much like this production was trying to tie it up into a neat little package.

In all, however, Edges is a great musical that I would recommend to anyone, especially those who think they don’t like musical theatre, and this production would be a great introduction of this show for anyone.  

Edges plays the Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) at the following times. It is 70 minutes and $10.00.

Wednesday, September 7th, 6:45pm

Saturday, September 10th, 5:00pm

Sunday, September 11th, 2:00pm

To book advanced tickets please visit Neptune Theatre’s Box Office, 1593 Argyle Street or call 902.429.7070 or visit www.atlanticfringe.ca.

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