Unlock’d: plot synopsis
Sam Carner and Derek Gregor's musical adaptation of Alexander Pope's 1712 poem The Rape of the Lock—a mock-Homeric epic about an unwanted haircut—mixes modern and old-fashioned instrumentation. Six years after its premiere at NYMF, the show now makes its official Off Broadway debut, directed by Marlo Hunter for Prospect Theater Company.
Unlock’d: theater review by Raven Snook
How’s this for a hair-brained scheme? Use Alexander Pope’s 18th-century satirical poem The Rape of the Lock—about the theft of a ringlet of hair—as the basis for a musical in which mismatched lovers and mythical creatures sometimes speak in period verse but also break into contemporary pop-rock songs. It sounds just crazy enough to work…except that it totally doesn’t.
And that’s a shame, since Derek Gregor and Sam Carner sure know how to write rousing, range-challenging love ballads, many of which are already cabaret staples. (Unlock’d has been kicking around for almost a decade and was previously seen at the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival.) But from the outset, the tone of this Prospect Theater Company production is off. For a rom-com, pretty much everything besides the wigs falls flat.
Wallflower Clarissa (troupe regular Jennifer Blood, excellent) envies her nubile ditz of a stepsister, Belinda (Jilian Gottlieb), who’s prized for her Honey Boo Boo–like locks. Clarissa implores dashing Roderick (Sydney James Harcourt) to woo her sibling by snipping a lock from her mane, hoping it will cut her down to size. But the plan inevitably gets all tangled up, and also includes roping in the bookish Edwin (A.J. Shively), a sextet of lovesick sylphs and gnomes, a goofy god and lots of talking tresses. Despite packing all of that period zaniness into one show, Unlock’d feels as thin as the mop atop a Hair Club client.—Theater review by Raven Snook
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