; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: Riverview High: The Musical

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Riverview High: The Musical

Last night I went to check out the muchly anticipated return of Riverview High: The Musical, which earned accolades at last year's Fringe Festival, winning the "Pick of the Fringe" award.

After seeing three musicals so far this summer, I would have to say that this was my least favourite. It's a good show, don't get me wrong, and for a new original musical, kudos to everyone involved for sure! However, it's hard to go up against Tony-award winning Avenue Q or the gut-splitting hilarity of A...My Name Is Alice.

If you don't know the background of Riverview High, it will become quite obvious to you that the show is based on the famous Archie comics. We have a lead red-headed male choosing between a blonde and a brunette. I think my biggest problem was that I didn't care who he picked! I just wasn't that interested in that main storyline. The songs were catchy enough, but I didn't feel there needed to be such a giant cast for this production. I didn't see it at the Fringe so don't know if they had the same number of actors/ensemble.

I appreciated the references to the Archie comics, such as their very own teenage witch cameo and a pseudo Josie and the Pussycats pop band. It's a fun frolic for those who are familiar with Archie, otherwise it's a romantic comedy musical for everyone else.

Two standout performances for me were Caleb Di Pomponio's nerdy Dexter, and Randy (the "Reggie" equivalent) played by Lucas Blaney, whom I recognized from last year's Grey Gardens! Both their energy and stage presence made their side storylines far more intriguing than the main one, and their character development seemed more fleshed out.

Riverview High: The Musical plays at the FireHall Arts Centre until August 24th. Half Price tickets are also available at Tickets Tonight.

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