‘Movin’ Out’ needs no words

Aubrey Canfield

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‘Movin’ Out’ opened last week on January 20 for a short two-day engagement here on campus. With promises to deliver absolute uninhibited rock and roll, the company did not fail to deliver.

The band, suspended above the stage, did Billy Joel proud. They flawlessly belted all 24 tunes with the vigor and enthusiasm one expects from a rock concert.
To their claims of top-notch dancers and choreography, the ensemble again did not disappoint. A group of 15 or so dancers executed two hours of demanding and exhausting choreography without batting an eye, or so the audience was led to believe. Individually, as a dance exhibition or as a rock concert, they all performed well and put on an entertaining show.

However, when it came to the fusing of the two, song and dance, the objective of the piece became quite muddled. In their defense, they claimed that the show had a very loose plot and that it was more of a rock ballet. I would definitely have to agree.

The program said there was very little dialogue ‘- that was a grave understatement. The only dialogue, if you can even classify it as that, is a few ‘hup-two-three-four’s’ from an army general early on in the show. I am not saying that I need a show to spell out its subtext for me in order to enjoy it. I rather like going to see theatre that makes me think or forces me outside my comfort zone. People come to the theatre for an experience. But I think the preconception of the ‘Movin’ Out’ experience was a tad misleading. For those who attended the performance looking for what we would call a ‘musical,’ I think they might have been disappointed. Though, once getting over the initial shock of ‘this isn’t what I thought it would be,’ the show was quite entertaining.

‘ ‘ ‘ The show opens with a light and innocent portrayal of the American teen. A group of friends fresh out of high school are laughing and dancing, falling in love and dreaming of the future. There’s the young lovers (the prom king and queen) newly engaged, the tough greaser who doesn’t fit in, the aspiring jock slash army recruit, the new girl in town, ‘uptown girl,’ and a gaggle of cheerleaders and soldiers played by the rest of the ensemble. These teens see their happy, safe little bubble burst before their eyes with the dawn of the Vietnam War. While the guys are shipped off to the army the girls nervously await their fate. ‘We didn’t start the fire,’ an emotional and violent number tells the story of the men at war who fight, fail and die. When the men return home the prom queen finds that her king has died. While in mourning, the greaser feels responsible for his friend’s death and slips into depression. The friends seem to lose their way and themselves and in a lewd sex montage it seems they have hit rock bottom. In the end they are re-united and they find love and happiness in eachother.

‘ ‘ ‘ In order to make sense of the plot the audience needs to do a lot of filling in the blanks. Still, deluded plot line or not, it seems difficult to see this show and not have a good time. The music was excellent and the dancing was superb and visually stunning. Twyla Tharp’s reputation is held up indeed.

To put it plainly it was a good show. Would I see it again? It really depends. Bottom line: If you’re in the mood for some foot tapping and a bit of good old-fashioned rock and roll, ‘Movin’ Out’ is highly recommended.