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June 13, 2017:

It’s Only Life reviewed by Rob Stevens

Philip McBride, Jill Marie Burke, Joaquin Nuñez, Kayre Morrison, Ken Shepski, Devon Davidson with composer John Bucchino on the Piano

Composer John Bucchino’s songs are a staple in most cabaret performers’ acts, especially his most famous song “Grateful.” The introspective character portraits he specializes in are effective in a single song in a cabaret act. As an entire two-act musical revue featuring 22 of his songs, they begin to all sound alike, no matter how talented the performer singing them. Add in some repetitive direction and choreography (both by Alan Palmer) and you have a stagnant 90-plus minutes of musical theatre. That is what occurs on stage at the Chromolume Theatre where Art-In-Relation is currently presenting It’s Only Life. The composer himself was at the piano for the opening weekend of the show and although he played his music with passion and verve, it still didn’t compensate for the sameness of the material. His intelligent lyrics are going for the Sondheim effect but he doesn’t quite achieve it. The songs come across as mostly morose, nearly dirge like, lacking wit, zip and variety. As usual in our local musical theatre scene, the females had the better vocal pipes—Jill Marie Burke, Kayre Morrison and Devon Davidson. The men—Philip McBride, Joaquin Nunez and Ken Shepski—weren’t poor singers, just bland ones.


Chromolume Theatre at The Attic, 5429 W. Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles. Ends July 9. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2851582

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