Hip Shot: ‘Duets’


The Clinic, 1006 6th St. NW

Remaining Performances:

Friday July 9 @ 10:30 pm
Saturday, July 17 @ 5:30 pm
Tuesday, July 20 @ 10 pm
Sunday, July 25 @ Noon

They Say: A classic musical follows an AWOL soldier hoping to convince a friend that he is the one. A humorous indie-rock story about a guy rekindling an old flame. An soul/rock journey through Dante's levels of hell with a former lover.

duetsAdam’s Take: Sometimes the heart is best expressed in song.  The emotional pulse of a melody can release feelings buried just below the surface. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you also have the voice to make a thrush jealous.  Both Bligh Voth and Jonny Price surely do.  Their shared ability to serenade the audience is by far the highlight of the show.

It makes a good effort otherwise, but the opportunity for the voices of the two characters—Girl and Guy—to shine does not come often enough.  Duets is a self-described triptych of three very-loosely themed vignettes that range from a soldier gone AWOL from war to a lost soul left to fight his way through Dante's hell.  The concept starts out well.  Through song,  we are able to peer into the emotional yearnings of the two characters.  We witness their search for a love that appears to be of the past and unrequited.  Singing by themselves, the characters are clearly in want of something more.  Singing together, their hearts seem to harmonize as well as their voices.

The dialogue has moments of humor, but the wait between them is often tiring and unsympathetic.  The band provides nice accompaniment to the songs and relief when the plot feels stuck.  The acting by Voth and Price was effective, and the sound and lighting helped to cast the scenes.  The three one-acts were directed by Joshua Morgan and were a production of the No Rules Theater Company, a collaboration of artists based in D.C.and Winston-Salem, N.C.  The show peaks when its characters temper their search for love with the lure of a song, despite the occasional lackluster moments.

See It If: You can’t understand why one would write a rock musical about anything other than love.

Skip It If: You hate love or songs or both.

  • MJK

    Some nice (and promising) song writing from all three, and two lovely voices singing a range of styles from more traditional Broadway operetta to the contemporary style of "An American Idiot's Spring Awakening when he can't pay his RENT." Otherwise, TOO MUCH DIALOGUE and not enough singing. I was expecting selections from 3 loosely connected one act musicals showcasing the musical stylings of each writer, but instead ill-formed bits and pieces that weren't terribly satisfying though very well sung. The middle piece especially was more a playwriting exercise than a showcase of the writer's musical skills. Mark Halpern and partner's 3rd piece is the stand out here - what we hear of it at least. His PLEASE LISTEN was a promising and entertaining work staged last year. I look forward to hearing more of his Dante's Inferno/circles of hell love story. Pretty straight-forwardly stageed, but a showcase of three works in progress by a rising new local company.