TAGGED & AND IT'S COMPLICATED by Matty Burns and Ben Wright (Out of Reach Theatre). At the Palmerston Library Theatre (560 Palmerston). To December 1. $12-$15. Outofreachtheatre.com. See listing. Rating: NN
Instead of getting you ROTFL, this musical about two 20-somethings looking for love online will simply make you go WTF.
Tim (co-writer Matty Burns) and Katherine (Ruth Goodwin) are in dating purgatory; he's boomeranged back home to live in his parents' basement, while she's a workaholic who drowns her sorrows in wine and a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey. When they connect via a website called Molten Lava - a clever parody of Lavalife, complete with a series of ads that provide some of the show's best jokes - they awkwardly hit it off. But will they ever meet IRL?
What's surprising is how stale and anticlimactic everything feels. The characters are thin - they have quirks instead of personality traits - and fail to evolve. Dana Kaluzny's leaden direction doesn't help, especially with Burns, who's prone to shameless mugging. Also, the end literally feels like the beginning of a more compelling show.
The songs are lively enough, with a jaunty, bluesy feel (although one number sounds suspiciously like a duet from Rent). The best thing about the show is the nine-piece band, who practically blow the roof off the theatre. Unfortunately, they also drown out the singers, making their words inaudible.
Which is ironic, since the promising and energetic company's name is Out of Reach Theatre.