3 out of 5 stars
With the ongoing marijuana debate, “Pot the musical” takes a unique spin on the issue through the use of song and dance.
“Pot the Musical,” based on a book by Diane Shinozaki, is a humorous musical about the life of a young girl named “Sweetie,”(Mandi K Smith). Sweetie is a non-smoker who ventures through life trying to figure out who she is, and where she stands on the issue of marijuana use.
Directed and choreographed by Keith E. Wright and has some funny moments, but the choreography and singing are what make it unique and enjoyable.
The journey begins with a dream Sweetie has where she is watching the founding fathers struggle to write the Declaration of Independence. They sit around brainstorming, but it isn’t until Thomas Jefferson pulls out a joint that they all finally begin to come up with ideas.
“You’re the man,” Benjamin Franklin says. At first the scene feels awkward because depicts the founding fathers as stoners and drunks
The use of humor to address persecution, discrimination and hardship is the strongest and most effective theme of the musical.
As we meet each character we find out immediately where they stand on the issue of marijuana.
Sweetie, who just got fired from her job as a nurse, goes home to her pot addicted boyfriend Razz (Kit Tyler) and a cleverly choreographed song and dance number begins. The cast members link themselves to one another, curling along each other’s bodies, resembling a growing vine while reciting all the various names of marijuana
Razz’s friend Sid (Ben Parks) makes hash brownies to bring to a Pot Fest while Sweetie makes her own brownies to bring to the Anti-Pot Church event and of course the batches get switched.
At the Pot Fest the church shows up to protest against the use of marijuana. Each side defends themselves as they battle each other in song and dance.
One of the funniest parts of the play was when church-goer (Clarke Wolfe) and the pot-smoker (Aryiel Hartman) debate the issue of pot through the song “I’m high on Jesus,” and “I’m just high.”
With all the churchgoers now high from the brownie mix-up, which Sweetie brought, there are a few humorous moments, but overall the scene simply feeds off every major stereotype — munchies, trails and laughter — of marijuana use.
“Pot the Musical” is currently running at the The Electric Lodge in Venice, until May 8 and will perform through June at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. There is a special performance on April 20. Admission is $20 in advance; $25 at the door. For more information visit www.potthemusical.com.