Like it’s namesake star, Albireo, a new work by Annahis Basmadjian, shines with potential. Albireo was brought to the Red Gate Revue Stage by producers Rushed Productions Ltd with support from UBC Players Club. Liam Lazenby directs a cast of experienced and new to the scene actors and singers to bring Annahis Basmadjian’s light musical-comedy to life.
Telling the story of two estranged brother’s Charon Chambers (Colton Fyfe) and Wriker Writeov (Jed Weiss), who we learn are half-siren/half-human. Orphaned by their siren mother and deaf-father (therefore could not succumb to the siren song), the brothers fended for themselves using their power for a life of crime. When Chambers took another young human orphan, Holly, under his wing to settle down and raise her, he left behind his brother and their grifter ways. When Writeov finds Chambers and Holly about to host a party, some comedic and dramatic events occur that push the brothers to work together to save their family. Realizing that the bonds of family make their power stronger they are able to fend off a rival.
Being sirens, music is a vital part of Chambers and Writeov’s lives and therefore the play. Basmadjian has crafted some catchy, pop tunes for Alberio and witty dialogue to go along with them.
The actors’ varying skill levels come into play during the performance, creating a uneven rhythm to the musical as the players move between flat out comedy and dramatic portrayals of their characters. Seasoned musical-theatre performer Colton Fyfe brings a fully developed character and a more dramatic turn to his Chamber. Whereas, recent graduate Jed Weiss, in his theatre debut, brings an erratic Jim Carey-style to his comedic portrayal of Writeov. Having more stage experience performing with his band, his singing and guitar playing skills excel. Some of the ensemble also stand out, for the wrong reasons, lampooning or murmuring too loudly drawing attention to the background. On a small space, like the Revue stage, it doesn’t take much to distract and requires creativity from the director, managers and cast to avoid excess noise and balanced performance volumes.
While this Rushed Production Ltd production has ended, if we are lucky enough, we will get to see Alberio again with different companies and stages as the musical continues to develop over the year, it definitely has the DNA for success.