Wednesday, August 08, 2007

SF Bay Area Guardian on The Big Voice.

I'm not sure if they wrote a fuller review, but this is what is listed in SF Bay Area Guardian's theatre listings guide which came online today:

Two distinct personalities and upbringings share a defining tension between the sexually closeted call of religion, on the one hand, and the all-embracing allure of music and show business on the other. It's a personal and somewhat philosophical quandary neatly summed up in the title of Los Angeles-based duo Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin's long-running off-Broadway musical memoir, an engagingly comic and at times touching love letter to the theater and their 22-year artistic and romantic partnership.

Now up at the New Conservatory Theatre Center (which in 2001 produced their musical The Last Session, inspired by Schalchlin's battle with AIDS and his Baptist past), The Big Voice takes place, if not in the proverbial void, then on a fairly bare stage and without benefit of flashy presentation (minus one cunning costume change for ex-Catholic boy Brochu). But although the pace slackens a bit in the second act's more life-crammed story line, the snappy book (by Brochu) and catchy, heartfelt songs (by Schalchlin, with additional lyrics by Marie Cain) remain a firm basis throughout for the complementary gifts of Brochu's old-school Broadway charisma and the arch innocence of Schalchlin's expert Midwestern deadpan. (Avila).

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