Monday, May 25, 2015

Review of Congo Square Theatre's Twisted Melodies

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Twisted Melodies. It was written by Kelvin Roston, Jr. and it was directed by Samuel G. Roberson, Jr. It was about this man Donny Hathaway (Roston) who loved music, but he was schizophrenic so he thought that everyone was out to get his music. I thought this was a bittersweet show. It was very very good and you got to understand a lot about this amazing hero of music, but then it was bitter because of how you find out what happened to him once he started believing that people were out to get him. The story is told by Donny, who is basically telling you the story through memory. I think that was a good idea because you get to see inside his mind. There are also projections (produced by Dre Robinson) that I thought were really cool because they help you even more with the picture of what he was thinking of. There were also dances (choreography by Joel Hall) that were on the projection screen that you saw sometimes when he was singing. I thought that those were very awesome. And I thought Roston's singing was absolutely beautiful. I could listen to it all day.

I especially loved the dance segments (danced by Carl Jeffries, Michelle Reid, and Jacquelyn Sanders). You would see shadows of people dancing modern dance and I thought it was just beautiful. Donny is having a memory of he and his wife dancing together and you are seeing how they felt for each other. It seems like it was very hard for him once she left because he didn't get to see his kids as much. But she felt like it was too much to be around this man who had attacks of scaredness and sadness. She wanted him to take his pills but he refused to because he thought the doctors were out to get him and the medicine made him not be able to make music. If he had that medicine he couldn't have the "medicine" that he wanted that made him feel better, which was his music.

I thought it was sweet how much he loved his grandma. His grandma had raised him and taught him how to play the piano and made him practice. And that made him be able to play the piano and achieve what he achieved. It also helped him distract himself from all the people he thought were out to get him. His grandma seemed like a very strict woman, so I can see why he didn't want to cross her. And by not crossing her, he got one of the most important parts of his life, which was his music. I also loved how he pretended to be himself as a little child. He would do this kind of baby voice and he would make his eyes really big, and that was him as a kid, and I found that really funny.

I really liked the song "Jealous Guy." It sounded really upbeat even though it was about a jealous person. And I still have that song stuck in my head. I also really liked the song "The Ghetto." It was also pretty upbeat and I felt like it told a story even though it didn't have very many lyrics. There was also an audience participation aspect to that part. I don't really know if that is true every time, but it was very very fun to sing with him. I really loved the song "Someday We'll All Be Free." The song was about wanting to be free and the hope to have a better world. It might be hard right now, but hold on and it will be better. It brought a happiness and hope to the show when there wasn't a lot of that in his life.

People who would like this show are people who like soul music, amazing singers, and strict grandmas. I think people should definitely go see this show. I thought it was very satisfying and amazing and I really recommend it. I was in the Athenaeum the night before seeing Crimes of the Heart, and I went upstairs and I heard this amazing voice and I saw where it was coming from and I was very happy I was going to see the show the next day. And it exceeded my expectations!

Photos: Sam Roberson

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