“Romeo & Juliet,” “Orpheus & Eurydice,” and “The Gift Of The Magi” are brought together in this new musical by Andrew Seok. Toronto Fringe Festival presents Unravelled – A New Musical at Grace Toronto Church. With music in the style of “Les Miserables” and interwoven plot akin to “Into The Woods”, these 3 tales are reimagined to create an entirely new and epically romantic story.
With it’s beautifully written score, Unravelled – A New Musical tells the intertwined story of three different folklore tales. In this adaptation, Eurydice and Romeo are siblings, and Della is Juliet’s nurse. I am impressed at the way the storylines are carefully crafted to maintain the original folklore, with unexpected twists at the end.
The cast of Unravelled – A New Musical sings the score with ease. At the start of the piece, three pairs of lovers sing alongside the ensemble with lyrics stating “I can’t breathe without you.” The undying adoration and love for each lover’s counterpoint is the common thread between the pairs.
Following the opening number, Orpheus and Eurydice retell their story in a ballad, followed by a song by Romeo and Juliet, and finally The Gift of the Magi. Since there is a strong likelihood that the audience is familiar with three tales, I felt that it was unnecessary to retell each tale so thoroughly. Rather than have each pair sing an isolated duet, perhaps it would capture the audience’s attention if the three stories were somehow layered into one singular song.
Because most of the show is sung, the pacing is slower than I would have preferred. Each song, while wonderfully delivered, had the same tempo and very similar delivery. I hoped for a comedic character or an antagonist which would provide a contrast from the existing material. Since the tempo of most songs stayed relatively consistent, I felt like I was listening to a concert of ballads rather than a musical.
The cast is superb. The representation of artists of color and the company’s vocal ability is impressive. I particularly enjoyed Michaela Mar’s portrayal of Juliet in her solo near the beginning of the show. In the song, Mar contemplates the risk she will face to be with Romeo, and plots her eventual plan to fake her death with poison. Mar’s hopeful and earnest portrayal combined with her stunning vocals make the audience yearn for her success.
If you’re a fan of musical theatre, be sure to watch Unravelled – A New Musical. It is a strong piece that is sure to have success at the Fringe and beyond.
- UNRAVELLED – A New Musical plays at Grace Toronto Church. (383 Jarvis St.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Thursday July 4th, 7:00 pm
- Friday July 5th, 7:00 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 6:00 pm
- Monday July 8th, 7:00 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 7:00 pm
- Friday July 12th, 7:00 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 6:00 pm
Photo of the cast provided by the company