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Posted by:
The_wolf_with_the_red_roses 06:27 pm MST 02/20/17

Here's my feedback, at long last. I needed a few days to really consider my opinion on everything and ,well, here it is.

Slight spoilers ahead! Read on at own risk.
For those who have a rough idea of the story to Jim's Dream Engine and Neverland shows than you'll be glad to know that rather than be a commitee driven attempt to make a Meat Loaf musical, this still feels for the most part like Jim's vision. His wit, his tenderness and his unique viewpoint into the human condition is expanded into a full narrative. We all know how amazing Jim is at crafting songs, his mini epics, but Jim as a storyteller on a more expanded scale? Honestly, me being me and, like Markus, slightly biased meant the show would have had to have been really shambolic to for me not to like it. Luckily, the rest is history at this point and Jim triumphs. His characters? Likable and have depth. His dialogue? Poetic and true to said characters and the world he's created. Storytelling like this sometimes as the danger of falling into shmaltsy Twilight territory, but Jim, as Jim always does, injects it with enough raw , visceral energy and lust that the story has balls and knows exactly what to do with them!

We open to something of a status quo. Strat and the Lost, mutants who don't age and stuck as teenagers, constantly in a state of adrenaline fueled rebellion against the evil Raven, who's tyranny and heartlessness has turned wife Sloane into a desperate, conflicted alcoholic. Together, they mollycoddle daughter Raven to the point they stop her dreaming. Strat, having watched her from a far, decides he's going to have her.

The songs here are incredible, replicated to sound enough like the songs we love but also changed enough to suit the narrative of the show. For the most part, everything I want to be in there is in there (how surreal was it that, after 10 years of hearing the Batman demo, I was hearing NOT ALLOWED TO LOVE sung in front of hundreds of people AND that it fits perfectly in this new context!) but there are omissions here that are a bit too glaring for me to not comment on, which I'll get into a bit later
The first half of the show is flawless! Would not change a thing about it. The heartbreaking duet Jim's turned Two out of Three Ain't bad into, the all time GREATEST staging of Paradise By the Dashboard light and the soft, tender admission of mutual adoration with Making Love Out Of Nothing At All is all sublime and all linked with the fantastic story and characters Jim's made here.

The second half, while it has its moments (Land of the Pig is easily the strongest song of the second half and fantastically staged) feels a lot more underdeveloped to me. The first half strikes the perfect balance of story, dialogue and song integration whilst the second veered a little closer to jukebox-musical territory for me. Some of the song choices in the second half didn't always meld well with the narrative. It's already been mentioned but Dead Ringer isn't a song that needs to be there, it's a fun little distraction that Jim's been creative to weave into the narrative, but it's in a scene that might well have been better suited to another song or at least been reworked a little. Objects is used in a scene that involves some of the lesser developed characters and because of that it slightly misses the mark for me. I also feel the ending, which uses AFL as it's grand finale feels a little abrupt. I understand why the song was used, as Bat out Of Hell is used to close the first act and the way it's utilised is terrific, but mere moments before Raven asks what would Strat do when she grows old and I wanted the show to end on that. Old Raven, Young Strat with a song between them as she passes on and he goes on killing time until the end of the world. The biggest omission though, for me, is Bad For Good. The imagery in the scene where Strat first rescues Raven from Falco's tower is literally plucked from the Bad For Good video, and yet the song the song they sing to punctuate this 'Making Love Out of Nothing At All", which really leaves me in two minds as the song fits the scene peeeerfectl (literally just thought about removing this whole section of the review as, when remembering the scene in the show my heart skipped a beat, that's how good it is!)
The huge paragraph up there makes it look like I'm nitpicky . Truth being told, my version of this show would be about 4 hours and feature every demo, underrated song and monologue Jim has ever written. The fact that the show is as fully formed and cohesive as it has is just a testament to Jim's staggering, untouchable creativity. Songs I'd like to be there aren't, but as a whole Jim has made a world I wanna live in! The cast are unbelievable, with Andrew Polack being the perfect successor to Meat as a conduit for Jim's work, he's a jewel in the crown that is a terrifically talented cast, even powering through some slight tech glitches on opening night. The sets are terrific, the clever melding of theatre and cinematography make it for a really unique experience, even by Jim's standards.

Jim, thanks for this, for everything, and making my Faith's song perfect in your dream come true.

I wouldn't be here without you.

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