The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble is over halfway through its run of performances of its "theater of music" piece, "Just Out Of Reach" at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Here are a few quotes from reviews it has received.
"Narcissus’ lament having fallen in love, as a punishment, with his own image in the
River Styx is one of the highlights, a booming baritone capturing the sadness and
loneliness of the moment. Slightly repetitive in places and slow in pace, this is not
necessarily for everyone, but lovers of Greek mythology and classical music will
more than enjoy the sweeping score and haunting beauty which lie at the heart of
this music-led theatre piece."
"Despite its setting in the Underworld, ‘Just Out Of Reach’ has a strangely soothing effect; fear and obsession are tempered by a five-piece band and the lilting American voices of the strong cast ... With emotive song and dance, the cast relay mystery and yearning, but for us the significance of the piece is just out of reach."
"The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble can’t do it all, but they
can do a lot. Making their Fringe début, the group have
produced a show of remarkable versatility that highlights their
extraordinary individual talents. Just Out of Reach is an aural
and a visual delight. Incorporating mime, live score, dance and
comedy, it as an ambitious performance that, at times, both
challenges and enthrals its audience...
This is an elaborate work that may not be to everyone’s tastes,
but even if your existential and classics knowledge is zero, the
beauty of the music performed here and the sheer quality of
the individual performances is utterly convincing. If you want a
show that is both strikingly original and genuinely
entertaining, then you could do much worse than Just Out of
A multi-talented ensemble present, through music, song and
dance, the stories of Tantalus, Narcissus and Sisyphus, three men
sentenced to eternal frustration for offending the gods.
Kevin Noe, Matthew Romantini and Robert Frankenberry are fantastically cast as the three prisoners of the
underworld. Frankenberry expresses Narcissus’s plight through song, showcasing a magnificent voice, and Romantini portrays Tantalus through exquisite choreography. However, Noe, playing Sisyphus as a lovable goof, is the main reason to see this show; his roles as both host and contestant in the underworld game-show Melodious Diagnosious are hilarious and one cannot help but fall for him when he performs a number with a ventriloquist’s dummy. Unfortunately, David Skidmore as the Camus-quoting Keeper comes across as obnoxiously affected, partly but not entirely because he is the youngest cast member. While the production as a whole is luxuriously stylish and all elements are blended beautifully, it is let down by a self-indulgent and over-emphasised script."