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Seattle by David-Edward Hughes

These Streets at ACT Theatre

Also see David's review of Teatro ZinZanni's Dinner at Wotan's

These Streets
Sarah Rudinoff, Mitch Ebert, Fiia McGann
and Gretta Harley

The Grunge, garage and club music of Seattle in the '90s is recalled and celebrated in These Streets: A Rock 'n' Roll Story presented by The Central Heating Lab and Harley/Rudinoff productions at ACT. Clearly a labor of love for creators Gretta Harley, Elizabeth Kenny and Sarah Rudinoff, it is a difficult evening to appreciate for the uninitiated, with lots of period music by many different writers and bands tied in with a fictional story jumping between then and now with different actors portraying the characters during the different time periods, in a script that brings to mind a bad version of the film The Big Chill.

The show, directed spottily by Amy Poisson, feels like a well-produced, overly earnest workshop, in which neither the period tunes nor the dramatic scenario are fully cooked. Many songs are only presented in snippet form, not the best way to introduce us uninitiated types to them. Sometimes the casting of the two versions of the characters is dead-on, as with actors John Q. Smith and Evan Crockett as the elder and younger DJ Bryan who pseudo-narrates, and in other cases, particularly the role of Kyla, one of the most successful singers, the considerable talents of young Hollis Wong-Wear and her more mature counterpart Sarah Rudinoff could not seem more out of sync.

Musical director Harley and a vibrant onstage band are the real deal, and when Rudinoff is belting out a song that actually gets to be heard in its entirety, These Streets takes flight, but these moments are fleeting. The cast gives impassioned performances of thinly conceived characters, stereotypes of the era. Chalk These Street up as an honest effort, only fitfully realized.

These Street runs through March 10 at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., Seattle; $20-$30. For more information call 206-292-7676 or www.acttheatre.org.


Photo: Stacey Wescott



- David Edward Hughes



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