Monday, August 17, 2015
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
I had heard of this show, and have always been fond of spelling, and this high school production seemed family friendly, so we thought we’d check it out. After all, a spelling bee is a good idea for a stage show – it’s already on a stage, already has tension and eccentricity, and everyone understands what it is. And the show was decent. I can’t say it was great, but it was pretty good. The kids did a nice job with their songs and bits, and I think most of my concerns were with the script. It was enough to make me wonder if we were seeing some strange abridged version of the show, since the main weakness was that character relationships did not feel fully developed, and as a result, the characters sometimes did things that didn’t make sense. But the show has a LOT of characters, so maybe that’s just how it is? The show was 90 minutes, which was plenty for a musical – I don’t know how they would have fit in more without cutting something. I found myself wishing for a 35% reduction in characters with a corresponding increase in depth. The school group was from the US (Alexandria, Virginia) and it must have been so exciting for them to come all the way to Edinburgh to perform. Overall, it was about as good as one could hope for a high school production to be, and I’m glad I got to see it. Still, for a musical about spelling bees, I'll take "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" every time.