Review: “Myths and Hymns” (BoHo Theatre Ensemble)

Elizabeth Telford and Kevin Webb in "Myths & Hymns"
Elizabeth Telford and Kevin Webb in “Myths & Hymns”

Show: Myths and Hymns

Company: BoHo Theatre Ensemble

Venue: Heartland Studio

Die Roll: 14

I have been very lucky in rolling the dice this year.  I’ve seen a lot of really good theatre in the last six months.  And yet, there comes a day when even the best Las Vegas high roller sees his luck run out.  Fate can be cruel.  It was this week.

Not unlike when a turn of luck happens to a gambler, it leads you on, makes you expect good things and then slaps you in the face with the bad.  Such is the way of “Myths and Hymns”, now playing at the Heartland Studio (7016 N Glenwood Ave).   I was really looking forward to this show, especially since its purported goal was to show the melding of lives of a Christian woman and her new husband who is of a different faith (one that is informed by myths of the past).  As I am married to a woman of a different faith than my own, I expected to see something that I might identify with.  What occurred however, was a staging of a piece that I couldn’t even comprehend.  I spent the better part of the evening exceptionally confused, baffled, and contemplating if I needed to be ready to start a review in the same manner as Katy Walsh did for hers of “The Way West”.

This is a song cycle by the composer of “The Light in the Piazza”.  The music is good stuff.  The lyrics had problems.  Mostly in that they often had very little to do with the construct that doubled as a plot.  In truth there was no plot.  A wildly inconsistent through line is there one minute, gone the next.  It’s almost impossible to tell what character any of the actors are trying to portray.

And that’s what’s so frustrating about this show.  The actors are doing their damnedest to act the hell out of this show.  But there isn’t a lot to work with.  The singing was great.  In the same week in which I had just written about seeing some actors in multiple shows, I got performances from Elizabeth Telford (who was able to show off her voice much better in this show than in her previous stint in “How to Succeed”) and Kevin Webb (who I am starting to believe is one of the best young dramatic tenors in town… I know I’ll be calling him if I am ever directing a musical).  These two, and the other four who make up the ensemble blend really well, and the harmonies touch the ear in a really pleasing way.  The set and costumes do as much as they can to elevate the show to a piece of theatre, rather than a concert.

And yet, this was not a good play.  I fear that this play didn’t have a chance from the get-go.  From the first song on it felt more like an awkward attempt at converting the male character and the audience as well.  As the songs went along, it more or less just felt awkward.  The main thing I wanted to know as I left the theatre is why this play was chosen by the folks at Boho.  What was the goal here?  Who thought this was a good idea?

I wish I could tell you more about the play itself, but I can’t.  In the last 20 years of working in theatre, I’ve never left a performance more confounded about what I’d just seen.

TEN WORD SUMMARY:  Inherently flawed script can’t be fixed by further flawed concept.

RATING: d4 – “Not Worth The Time”