BOYGROOVE by Chris Craddock and Aaron Macri, directed by Kenneth Brown (Rubinoff/Chua/BoyGroove Entertainment). Diesel Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). Runs to June 4. $20-$36. See Continuing, page 77, for details. 416-971-5656. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
BoyGroove is yet another casualty of the Fringe-success curse. What may have seemed fresh in the context of last year's summer festival has become - during the regular theatre season, with a heftier ticket price (up to $36!) - not so special after all. Granted, the show's underwhelming quality might also be a matter of timing. Back in 2003, when it was first written and performed, the idea of spoofing boy bands like *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys may have seemed like a great idea.
But trends expire quickly in our celebrity-saturated culture. And those bands, with their archetypes (the bad boy, the pretty boy, etc.), were never taken seriously enough to warrant true satire. They're too easy a target.
Still, Chris Craddock 's clever script hits most of the requisite mock-doc notes: the genesis of the group, the firing of the manager, the rivalries and sexual conquests. Craddock's especially good at capturing band members' inane remarks. And his comments about the public's love/hate relationship with stars ("If you're rich and famous, shut the fuck up!") are spot on.
The performers do their best with the material, energetically bringing to life not only the four band members but also various media types, fans and lovers. Plus, they can actually sing.
Too bad Kenneth Brown 's direction lacks edge. One aside-filled scene stumbles badly. And what's up with the renovation of the old Second City building? It's renamed the Diesel Playhouse, but the only changes I can see are a cheap-looking proscenium and slightly modified railings.