Review: The Mad Ones (Russo Richardson Productions)

The Mad Ones is a virtual musical about the internal struggle before a Big Life Decision

The Mad Ones, a virtual musical by Russo Richardson Productions, is an emotional story about embracing a big life decision and the internal struggle leading up to that. Filmed remotely and presented as a Zoom call inside Samantha Brown’s mind, this performance managed to successfully utilize the limitations of producing a show during a pandemic to their advantage.

Samantha Brown (Colette Richardson) sits in her car, holding her keys. Rather than commencing her trip, she sits and stares ahead as her mind goes on the journey for her playing out conversations and scenarios between her best friend Kelly (Molly Russo), her boyfriend Adam (Abiezer Santiago Cruz) and her mom Beverly (Jennifer May Copping). As Samantha ponders her big decision, she weighs out the possibility of hurting the people she loves.

The Mad Ones features a pop-rock soundtrack written by Brian Lowdermilk with lyrics by Kait Kerrigan. The songs feel like they were written with the actors’ vocal ranges in mind and fit the characters and actors seamlessly and capture the painfully awkward moments in teenage life well, such as “Sam Failed Her Driver’s Test”. Both Richardson and Russo have stand-out voices that pack a punch in “Go Tonight”.

“The Proposal” features Adam attempting to convince Samantha to have sex with him. The song was painful for me to sit through – not only is it uncomfortably saccharine, but to make matters worse, Samantha’s mom joins in to sing back up. Ooofff, make it stop.

It’s clear that the cast and crew put their heart and soul into creating this performance. The story and the songs are written well and hold merit. The limitations of the actors needing to be filmed on their own add a homemade quality to the overall production and serve to help Samantha’s character feel more vulnerable.

Unfortunately, though, The Mad Ones didn’t speak to me. As much as I feel that the music works well and the cast has great vocal talent, as a whole, I didn’t find myself connecting with the show. Samantha was static inside her car for too long for me, and I found my mind drifting. At two hours in length, I couldn’t find myself being reeled back in.


Photo courtesy of Russo Richardson Productions