nytheatre.com review by April Nugent
Blake… Da Musical tells the
tragic love story of Robert Blake and Bonnie Blakely. It examines their
relationship and follows the pair up to Bonnie’s final fateful evening.
This campy, irreverent and over-the-top production could be seen as a
public service as it offers a possible solution and a couple of very
plausible suspects that the L.A.P.D. may have over looked during their
August 15, 2003
Entering the basement of the Our Lady of Pompeii Church, you feel as though you are going to watch a high school assembly. This feeling is further instilled by Christi McAva and Steve Escandon’s painted backdrops. Make no mistake, however: the low-budget set, plastic jail cell, and cardboard props are deliberately designed and add to the white-trash feel the production is aiming for.
Crooning songs like "Mail Order Porn" and "Lady Dyslexia," the ensemble is grotesquely dysfunctional. With his dead-on impersonation of Robert Blake, Rick Batalla has a great voice and a fun and easy rapport with the audience. A comedian from head to toe, Meleney Humphrey (Bonnie) does white trash with an irrepressible joy. JJ Snyder gives a noteworthy performance as Lady D and as Bonnie’s Fairy Godmother. The cast also includes Mike Teele, G’mo Robles, Andy Lopez, and Luke Fuller. The enthusiasm of these performers is almost enough to overcome the problems of the script, which is light on plot and lacks drive. The songs, written by Henry Phillips and Batalla, are fun, but they do little to move the story along and they become repetitive, especially in the staging.
Blake… Da Musical is outlandish and bawdy with bold, vividly drawn characters. However while it may work in sections as comedy sketches, it falls short as a full musical theatre piece. The press materials state that CG4 Productions, which was founded in 2002, is "dedicated to taking unsolved murder cases, and setting them to music." They have plenty of material to draw from and I am sure they will have plenty of opportunities to perfect this highly specialized genre.