29 April 2021
3.5 out of 5.0 stars
Last week saw the release of new Musical film In Pieces on Stream Theatre. Filmed with a young UK cast, it presents a sleek face which tackling the age old question of the heart, with songs all around love and relationships, longing and passion.
Set in KidZania, which is a play city for children where they can pretend to be adults and take on various jobs for entertainment, it feels a bit weird right off the bat. Clearly chosen to represent a USA-esque feel of the city, it just looks a bit ridiculous if you’ve ever actually been to KidZania (which hosted grown-ups only nights once a month before the pandemic hit, which I might have attended on occasion…) with its bright colours and engineered town square feel with very obvious KidZania branding throughout.
The other thing that bothered me about this recording was that it was very obviously lip synched and not sung live. As a huge connoisseur of live musical theatre, I find it too obvious that the actors aren’t actually singing throughout the filmed performances, detracting from the emotional depth of the numbers.
In Pieces is a sung-through quilt of songs about love, loosely connected throughout the film. While each actor seems to play a character that grows and changes throughout the show, it’s not always apparent whether these are indeed the same character or just random performances that aren’t connected at all. This does not detract from the power of the songs, though. Song cycles tend not to bother with character development, being more of a showcase than a story.
Standout performances to me were definitely those by Kyle Birch, Ross Harmon, and Danielle Steers, who managed to connect their acting performances to the depth of emotionality of their songs despite the lip-synched nature of the recording. Another amazing point was definitely the unabashed queer-inclusion of this production, which is so refreshing to see!
However, a lot of the songs were quite samey and overall it felt more like a “best of” album rather than a cohesive show. Still, more than worth your time if you like powerful voices singing about love in all its forms!