Edges intimate, to the point

Ignition Theatre is offering a clever if slightly impassive antidote to the overblown, style-over-substance musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The cast of Edges perform a sound check prior to a recent dress rehearsal at The Matchbox Theatre.

Ignition Theatre is offering a clever if slightly impassive antidote to the overblown, style-over-substance musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Edges, which opened Thursday night at The Matchbox, is about an intimate as a musical can be.

There’s no flashy costumes in this six-actor show by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and no special effects.

But Edges deals with some weighty and funny subject matter that will seem especially topical if you’re a young person trying to make sense of your place in the world.

Even if you’re no longer young, Edges will take you back to that precipice at the edge of adulthood and make you remember how hard it was taking the leap — socially, romantically, and even personally. There’s both truth and social criticism behind these songs about facile Facebook friendships, commitment-phobia, hanging on to dreams, and just hanging with the guys.

Unlike a conventional musical, there’s no dialogue or on-going story-line in this show. The 15 tunes that make up this 75-minute production tend to ride on clever lyrics and universal sentiments about love, friendship, and self-identity. This works great when the intention of a song is to make people laugh, but less so when the point is making listeners feel something.

Most of the songs are really monologues set to music, and that’s both the strength and weakness of Edges.

Starting with the high points: Director Matt Grue got strong performances from the talented cast of Curtis Labelle, Richard Meen, Sabrina Notte-Hank, Alexandra Mihill, Chantel Hutchison and Spenser Pasman.

While none of the singer/actors plays a specific role, all were able to dramatize the songs. And plenty of memorable moments were created on a spartan but effective set by Patrick Beagan.

Meen got big laughs singing about his reaction to a recent break-up. With a chorus of “I hope you die,” the song In Short summarizes what everyone’s felt at one time or another about an ex-flame.

Meen, along with Labelle, and Pasman, nailed the brainless fun of hanging out with single male buddies in Pretty Sweet Day.

Notte-Hank and ensemble speared Facebook friendships in Be My Friend, and Meen and Mihill were sweetly funny as an emotionally timid couple singing I Hmmm You.

Much of the social commentary in Edges deals with how facile relationships have become. The trouble with singing about generalities like this, instead of about individuals dealing with specific situations, is that the songs don’t often pull your heart-strings.

Labelle, a thoroughly engaging performer, got to sing the two exceptions — I Once Knew and Part of a Painting, both rather touching tunes and the only ones with poetic lyrics.

But hearing Dispensable brought to mind how many thousands of more beautiful and stirring songs were written about the end of a relationship. And Coasting, about the shallow throw-away lines people feed each other, sounded rather like a throw-away song, itself.

Morgan McKee did double duty as music director and keyboardist, performing with drummer Chris Ridge and guitarist Dustin Clark. The trio did a fantastic job of backing the singers — too bad the melodies in Edges seemed to be of secondary importance to the writers.

But that happens when songs are all about the message.

Still, how can you resist lyrics like: “Please be my friend on Facebook,.. If you refuse, I’ll forget you exist, so be friend 505… It’s never cool to say no, so to socially survive, be friend 505…”

Maybe sometimes lyrics are enough when they are this entertaining.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Maskwacis RCMP seeking suspect in fatal hit and run

A Maskwacis man was fatally injured after being hit early Saturday morning on Hwy 611

Red Deer to get new a plan to end homelessness as the problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Many Red Deer-area farmers deal with a disastrous year

Dought in the spring, snow at harvest creates bad yields, sends hay prices soaring

Photos: Part of downtown Red Deer covered in trash over the weekend

Downtown businesses deal with trash, needle debris, graffiti

Delburne man’s reckless driving led to fatal crash: Crown prosecutor

Jury began deliberating in manslaughter trial on Monday afternoon

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Most Read