This beautifully sung song cycle follows the same unusual format as Brel: two guys and two gals singing songs without an overarching storyline. But instead of mid-century European folk music, Edges presents the quarter-life crises of self-conscious 20-somethings, in mid-2000s, clean-cut, American musical theatre style.
Some of the lyrics tend towards platitudes and the female characters are limited to relying on romantic relationships for fulfilment, but the multiple harmonies are wonderful, there are nice moments of musical complexity and the two fast-paced witty ditties are genuinely humorous. "That was Romy and Michele amazing," marvels one character about her high school reunion.
It's an excellent showcase for the vocal talents of Jonathan Martin, Leanne Howell, Awhimai Fraser and Tainui Kuru, smoothly directed by Jason Te Mete. Fraser's voice can turn from belt-out to bell-like on one note; Howell pairs clear diction with comic spark. Martin is a great, reliable anchor while Kuru infuses all his characters with an endearing presence.
Galatos is a great venue for contemporary, small oratorio: stage and small platforms at one end of the room, bar at the other, with cabaret table seating in between. A beautiful backdrop displays manawa (hearts) of koru, behind the dependable band of Josh Clark, Matt Neale and Daniel Waterson. Russ King's lighting unobtrusively and easily guides the audience's focus between platforms as singers move between them.
This is the first outing for Rebel Theatre, which might have been better to choose a name that couldn't be mixed up with the already established Rebel Alliance, but their mission "to bring people the kind of musical theatre they've never seen before" is worthy and welcome.
The great musicality of Edges makes for a promising start.
When and where: To July 16. Galatos, K Rd precinct