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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

‘Edges’ presents great acting, but rough vocals

Published: November 15, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc., Featured

I love romantic musicals, especially when they consist of tender and passionate lines such as “I hope you die.” “Edges,” starring Katie Jacobs ’16, Jamie Semel ’17, Bethany Adam ’15, Eli Siegal ’14, Makalani Mack ’16 and Ray Trott ’16, is a song cycle, meaning that songs are sung one after another with little to no dialogue. Unlike most musicals, “Edges” has no overall connective storyline; instead, through song, we’re given a glimpse into the lives of six young people, all of whom are want to discover the meaning of their lives.

Overall, this musical is worth watching if you can tolerate imperfect vocals. However, if you are looking for a Broadway-esque production, you should probably turn and walk the other way. The opening song, “Become,” was somewhat of a rough ride for everyone. Most of the cast members had weak vocals; there were pitch problems and the harmonies did not work. Some of them sounded a little sick (blame the cold weather), but they managed to pull through. However, everything else played out well. The stage choreography was appropriate and enlivening, the costume changes were mind-bogglingly fast, and the stage presence of each character was strong.
The turning point of the musical began with the song “I Hmm You”, sung by Ray Trott ’16 and Katie Jacobs ’16. Cute, in tune, and charming, both characters managed to convince the audience that “Edges” would be worth the watch because, although all of the characters had different partners in each song, they convincingly acted like a very affectionate couple, so much that “I hmm you” is a phrase that at least one couple from the audience will start using after walking out of the theater.

Every song after “I Hmm You” was sung incredibly well; for a moment, I thought that they’d changed the vocal chords of the cast. Whatever it was, something changed midway in the show and it worked. The magic of the show had begun—halfway through the show. It makes me wonder if they started out badly to represent the growth of the cast. Another crowd favorite was “In Short,” which was performed by Jamie Semel ’17. With passion-filled lines like “Die, die, die, die, die, die, die, die/Die, die, die/Die, die, die, die/Die, die, die, die, die, die, die,” Semel was truly able to establish herself as an essential cast member.

Something also very essential to the delivery of “Edges” was the production team. Transitions between scenes were quick and clean; the instrumentalists played very serene background music and the lights were used extremely well. The only thing I can complain about is something I often experience at other events at Brandeis: the show did not begin on time. Out of all the shows I have watched this year, “Edges” definitely has the best production team, which is quite refreshing considering the many production slip-ups in the past few plays and musicals.

For the most part, the second half of the musical is what convinced me (as well as everyone else sitting in the audience) that “Edges” was worth a try. The audience cheered and laughed for the best parts of the show and politely clapped for the less noteworthy bits. One thing I noticed is that a few of the actors have participated in multiple shows this semester. Ray Trott, for example, also played Robert in Boeing Boeing, which was performed only a few weeks ago. Despite his commitment to two shows, he still performed amazingly well.

Although not a strong production overall, “Edges” is still a fun guilty pleasure. If you are willing to overlook the vocal flaws, and are looking for something to make you smile along with quality acting, please go watch “Edges.”