Also see Tracy's review of Carousel
Movin’ Out tells the story of a group of young friends. It is the Vietnam era and war is upon them. Love dissipates and blooms before the boys are shipped off to war. The group is separated and they all deal with these turbulent times in their own way.
Billy Joel’s music often tells a story. That is what makes his body of work so perfect for the theater. The energetic nature of his music engages the listener and inspires feeling. Twyla Tharp took advantage of these qualities and choreographed dance that is equally moving.
Both of these elements are beautifully performed by a talented cast of musicians and dancers. Suspended on a bridge above the stage, the band plays the Joel tunes with vigor. The performance that this reviewer attended featured Darren Holden on piano and lead vocals. Mr. Holden should make Billy Joel proud. He delivers an outstanding performance of songs that include “Uptown Girl”, “The Stranger”, “Pressure” and of course, “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).”
The dancers in this piece are a sight to behold. Twyla Tharp, who also serves as director, has guided them well in both dancing and acting. They are very expressive and seem to have a good handle on their characters. Ron Todorowski is a standout as the troubled Eddie. His dancing borders on acrobatics as he moves with an intensity that fits the character. It is hard to take one’s eyes off him. Holly Cruikshank is a wonderful Brenda. Her characterization is dead on and her dance moves are flawless. She has great chemistry with David Gomez (Tony) who also outdoes himself on stage. Julieta Gros (Judy) and Matthew Dibble (James) also deliver strong performances as does the entire ensemble.
Audiences should not expect a traditional book musical when they walk into the theater to see Movin' Out. Everything is communicated through music and dance. What audiences will get is an innovative piece of theater that thrills as much as its Broadway counterpart. Movin’ Out runs at National Theatre through December 19th.
The National Theatre
MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY EVENING
Eddie: Ron Todorowski
TUESDAY & FRIDAY EVENING AND SATURDAY & SUNDAY MATINEE
Eddie: Brendan King
MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY EVENING AND SUNDAY MATINEE
Piano/Lead Vocals: Darren Holden
TUESDAY & SUNDAY EVENING AND SATURDAY MATINEE
Piano/Lead Vocals: Matt Wilson