Just East of Broadway

Broadway navigates the busy stage traffic effectively enough, but script and cast result in some problems

JUST EAST OF BROADWAY by Nicholas Hune-Brown and Ben King (Gig Productions). Factory Mainspace. January 8 at 5:15 pm, January 9 at 3 pm, January 10 at 6:45 pm, January 11 at 6:30 pm, January 13 at 8:15 pm, January 15 at 7:15 pm, January 16 at 6:45 pm, January 17 at 9 pm. Tickets are $12-$15, some pass discounts 416-966-1062, fringetoronto.com. See listing. Rating: NNN

Retooled and recast since its Fringe Toronto 2009 production, this satiric musical about a has-been American action movie star’s attempt to create a musical in China has lost some of its charm.

Jordan Merkur (new to the production) navigates the busy stage traffic effectively enough, but the reworked script and new cast result in some problems. For one thing, what’s Jean-Claude Van Damme like figure Rex Maverick (Corey O’Brien) doing on Broadway in the first place?

Former lead Lana Carillo has been recast in a secondary role, but she’s just as charismatic and watchable. Her replacement, Ma-Anne Dionisio, has a lovely singing voice (she was Toronto’s original Miss Saigon) but minimal acting skills and zero chemistry with O’Brien. This results in an imbalance, with the A plot overshadowed by the B.

The songs remain pleasant, the lyrics sometimes clever. [rssbreak]

More of the Next Stage festival reviews: The Making Of St. Jerome | Just East of Broadway | Quite Frankly

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