Review: The Band's Visit starring Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub
The Band's Visit, an incredibly hyped show for the season, was one of the first new musicals of the season I've seen and while I wanted to love it, I didn't care for it as much as I had hoped.
I will start off by saying that the music itself and the cast are both fantastic. While nowhere near all the songs are memorable, the cast, which includes Katrina Lenk (fresh off Tony winning play Indecent, Tony Shalhoub, and Adam Kantor (who's been in memorable shows Rent and Next to Normal as well as the most recent revival of Fiddler on the Roof). The musical arrangements blend the voices of the entire cast together beautifully and I was impressed in that regard.
Now what didn't I like? I found that the music, while well arranged and sung beautifully wasn't all that memorable. Several songs such as "Welcome to Nowhere", "Omar Sharif", and "The Beat of Your Heart" were my favorites and I could hum the tune for you. But not for any of the other songs in the show.
The show follows different members of an Egyptian police band as they end up in Bet Hatikva instead of Petah Tikva. While I appreciated the individual story-lines of the band members are their hosts, I found that the show switched from person to person with no rhyme or reason. It made following the show a bit difficult and I could not find an overarching plot line, other then that it shows what the different band members did for the 24 hours they spent in Bet Hatikva.
I also found the ending incredibly unsatisfactory. The show starts well, but begins to go downhill. The last song in the show, "Answer Me" was beautifully arranged, featuring Adam Kantor as Telephone Guy, though didn't wrap up the story in a way that gave the audience closure.
While most audience members and critics alike have loved the show I found it reminiscent of other shows and not necessarily in a positive way. There were good parts to the show, but I do not think that I will find myself back there anytime soon.