In Australia, four teenagers in a Sydney theater are astounded to hear the news that a nuclear war has broken out in Eastern Europe. They try to figure out the best way they can survive the coming conflagration.
A great peek behind the curtain at the creative process
Apparently first released in 2009 in Australia (where I got my copy), this 2012 U.S. release documents the second "24 Hour Musical" benefit held at the Gramarcy Theatre in Manhattan where a group of rising composers and lyricist/writers were put together with a solid group of stage actors, directors, choreographers and lighting technicians to put together four 15 minute musicals between 8pm one night and an 8pm benefit performance the next.
The process is ragged, intense and scary and ultimately surprisingly satisfying. At only 70 minutes, the documentary would have benefited from an additional ten to fifteen minutes screen time in the performance section showing the pay-off of all the effort - and a relaxation of the presumed restriction on showing unlimited stretches of the "finished" performances so that the audience gets a better feel for the quality of the work. The film makers DO give a healthy measure of that quality by shuffling brief clips of each of the four musicals (which were performed one after the other on stage) across each other so that all four ate seen essentially simultaneously with the audience left to sort them out in their minds. All of them leave us wanting more of mini-shows (expanded sketches really) NO one is likely to mount again. The flashes of wit and error and salvation from the cast - with reaction shots from the creators and theatre audience are delightful even so - and any time one gets a chance to see performances of the likes of these performers (especially the three expert comedians in the doctor sketch!) it is a chance not to be missed.
The 24 Hour Musical project seems to be ongoing - it would be wonderful if we got another filming of one or two of them!
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