Adding Maching: A Musical

 I decided to go see Adding Machine: A Musical produced by SpeakEasy at the last minute tonight, not having heard a thing of it. A gamble that paid off. I had a great time, and am glad I got to see it.
This musical is an adaptation of the play The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice. It tells the story of a man who, expecting to get a promotion after working for his company for 25 years, gets fired because his position is being replaced by the adding machine. 

My favorite aspect of the show was the cast. Everything single actor was completely committed, precise and embodying their character perfectly. They all made a great homogeneous ensemble. The lead role, Brendan McNab, had a very strong performance throughout with some particularly intensely draining emotional passages that he executed brilliantly.

My second favorite part of the show was the set. It had a gap in the middle of it, whose function changed throughout the play. It started out as the work place, turned into the courthouse, switched to the jail, and ended as the pathway from death to life. The bareness of the rest of the set worked really well, and became even more powerful when the walls of the theatre with all the technical aspects of it became visible.

The musical version of the story mostly works, sometimes more successfully than others. A lot of the music is quite serious, while at other times it becomes almost too cheerful for the circumstances. The going back and forth between those two styles makes the whole somewhat unfocused musically. One of the best musical moments is The Gospel according to Shrdlu, followed by I'd Rather Watch You sang by Daisy. Those are the two most singable tunes of the show, which otherwise emphasizes strongly on rhythm over melody and harmonies. The piano part is particularly dry and repetitive, and could use more diverse textures, particularly in productions using drums, as did this one. And on a side note, the synthesizer was more distracting than useful.

I don't know where this show is at, if it is still transforming or if it is set in stone, but if you ever get a chance to see it, make sure to take it!


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