Nancy Power Theatre at the Roxy
Starring St. Albert's own Trey Maruyama and Marshall Eglinski, What Was Is All is one long display of talent, creativity, skill, and storytelling.
Somewhat a spoof of Nero's role in The Great Fire of Rome, this musical is set in a small commune where a group of rather restless dreamers must deal with a newcomer invited in by one unhappy member of their own, Simon.
Simon wants to be a leader, so when he comes across a man stuck in a well he takes it as a sign that the Gods sent him an Angel, who he decides to use to convince the others that the end is near, and he is the saviour.
The Angel, who in actuality is just a wanderer, plays along for his own entertainment, and for his own purposes.
With the Angel in tow, Simon tries to convince the others that in order to transcend into the next chapter of their lives, everybody must listen to him. With most of the community falling in line, Simon tries to prepare for the final days, while the angel, with his perceived mythical nature, draws the eyes and hearts of two doubtful members of the community, including Simon's wife.
With the community falling in disarray, and the threat of death and destruction on the horizon, What Was Is All takes off into a musical master-class of folksy ballads, blues, and ‘bangers’, as the kids say.
Thanks to a live band on stage, this show truly sets itself apart from what one would expect from a musical.
The cast and performances are just professional enough to be deserving of the recently re-constructed Roxy Theatre main stage, while also being raw enough to make sure the audience doesn't think they're seeing a Broadway show.
Where What Was Is All falls short is story cohesiveness, character building, and a distinct lack of dialogue. It works though, to create a unique and original production that can't be missed.
- Jack Farrell