In theory, Two Gents: A Rock Opera seemed like a good pairing with Two Gentlemen of Verona, the play – two very different interpretations of the same source material. And the rock opera was only playing for a limited engagement, so I jumped at the chance to get tickets at the Shakespeare Theater. Of course, I still like the concept, and really, I should withhold judgment on the two until I’ve seen the play … But to date, Two Gentlemen has been okay – not bad – but not the rocking interpretation I was expecting, either.
I found rock opera uneven, some fun numbers and laughs, including the opening, where one of the cast members came out in front of the curtain and threatened to plant huge garlic inflected kisses on anyone whose cell phone rang during the performance. But overall, the staging was odd, a slapstick, where sometimes it was a rehearsal where the audience was in on the joke, while other times, we were expected to treat it like a real show. The music, too, was odd. Some classic show tunes, some R&B, some rock.
In that way, the rock opera reflected the play – it couldn’t quite decide what it was. The play is a comedy because it ends with a marriage, but don’t you want Proteus to get his comeuppance? I mean, he ditches his pregnant girlfriend and tries to steal the woman his best friend loves. But he gets a happy ending in the end?
In short, neither the play nor the performance was quite satisfying. We’ll see if the play suffers from the same flaw.