The TEAM Cleans Up at Edinburgh

So we’re a little late in noting this, and the sort of people who pay close attention to these sorts of things (which generally describes Culturebot’s readers) no doubt have already noted it, but NYC’s own The TEAM are one of the best reviewed shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Fest, where Mission Drift played the Traverse.

Lyn Gardner’s review in the Guardian:

What a blast. Economics has never been more playfully dissected than it is in this latest piece from The Team, the young American experimental company whose previous outings on the fringe have included Particularly in the Heartland and Architecting. Those examinations of America’s myth-making have been energetic and eager, but also chaotic and undisciplined. Yet the company fulfil all their much-hyped promise in this gorgeous, gaudy musical that considers the frontier mentality and the lust for expansion that gave birth to America’s rabid capitalism and the “shining city” in the desert that is Las Vegas.

From the Independent:

Among many other things, Mission Drift is that rare beast, a musical in which the music is really cool – jazz, blues, gospel and a little Elvis of course, all performed by a powerful cast of five with panache and soul. The performances are excellent, though Libby King’s tour de force as the century-striding Catalina deserves mention. Just at the very end it starts to lag, but the ambition here is breathtaking and the energy intoxicating.

From the List blog:

Setting the whole enterprise to bluesy, gospel-tipped song, led by showgirl and beauty queen Miss Atomic, the razzlin’, dazzlin’, manipulative spirit of Las Vegas, the company finally achieve the huge, soaring size of their ambitions. The (collectively-done) writing is crisply poetic, and each performance sharp, focused and beautiful – composer/band-leader Heather Christian, doing double duty as husky platinum blonde sex-pot Miss Atomic is a standout, because she seems to be having the most fun.

All of which is great, because I’ve been eagerly awaiting this show since I caught a work-in-progress showing at last year’s Ice Factory at the old Ohio Theater, and was blown away, not just because of the quality of the performances, but because it’s such a smart piece of political theater. The TEAM aren’t polemicists, a rare thing in American political theater. Instead of beating you over the head with a story on the evils of unbridled capitalism, Rachel Chavkin and co. offer up a complex portrait of the competing visions of the American ideal that produce sometimes disastrous results, ideals that don’t fit easily into our standard left-right, liberal-conservative binary categories. Mission Drift was supposed to open in New York last spring at PS 122, but scheduling conflicts delayed it. Now it’s debuting in NYC as part of PS 122’s COIL Fest in January 2012, along with a host of other fantastic shows.

Also I have to note that another New York company has gotten plenty of good press too. The lovely people from Banana Bag and Bodice took Beowulf to the Fringe this year, and Lyn Gardner of the Guardian was also duly impressed. So congrats all around!

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