I love a good musical. Sometimes all you need is a cheery storyline, peppy songs, and animated dance moves to help put a hop in your step. Sadly I left the Papermill Theatre on Wednesday night after seeing All Shook Up by First Act Productions in not as happy a mood as I had anticipated.
All Shook Up tells the story of a town that has been stripped of all things fun: dancing, loud music and necking in public. That is, until a mysterious leather-clad gentlemen, Chad, shows up in town. He shows the townspeople what it means to have a good time and reminds them of how wonderful falling in love can be. The cheesy, cheery story is interwoven with over twenty songs by the one and only Elvis.
On paper it sounded like a lighthearted but fun evening. Personally though, it just didn’t do the trick for me. The musicals I gravitate towards tend to be ones in which I can identify a level of depth hidden within the comedy. I wasn’t able to find this substance within All Shook Up.
The songs were catchy (Elvis never disappoints) and the choreography was enjoyable. It was the story and direction that I found challenging to swallow. I didn’t feel like the show allowed the cast to shine at their best. I kept trying to pare past the show so as to better acknowledge the talent on stage. There were some strong dancers and singers performing, but their talents felt overshadowed by the other challenges present on stage.
I wish I had better things to say about my experience at All Shook Up. I love musicals and I love Elvis. I just didn’t love this show. Perhaps I walked in with too-high expectations, but it simply was not at the level I have come to anticipate when going to see theatre in this city. For a die-hard Elvis fan though, it would be a great chance to see his music come to life in a new way.