L theater critic Mary Block went to see the show Perfect Harmony, which is about a capella singing and about exactly as dorky as it sounds like it’d be.
Singing in an a capella group is a really dorky thing to do. This didn’t stop me from trying out for three of them in college, but I knew that it was totally uncool. The creators and performers of Perfect Harmony know this too, and invite us to laugh with (at) them as they choreograph and harmonize and learn a thing or two about love while pursuing top honors at the national a capella competition. The play is written for laughs, and, given the subject matter, that’s a good thing — plumbing the depths of the human condition along with the Acafellas and the Ladies in Red would be difficult to stomach. Still, in the end, after learning that Winning Isn’t Everything and Drugs Are Bad, you’re grateful that the actors’ comedic and vocal skills save Perfect Harmony from being a complete waste of time.
Contemporary comedic touchstones like heavily-accented Eastern Europeans, closeted homosexuals, Evangelical Christians and people with Tourette’s Syndrome all get nods within the play’s two fast-paced hours. Nisi Sturgis gives a particularly poignant performance as Kerri Taylor, who yearns from backstage to join the group but can’t stop yelling things like “fucknugget” and “dicksmack.” The vocal harmonies are undeniably impressive, and the consistently funny troupe of actors creates a true ensemble piece. It’s topical and silly an inconsequential, but if you can recognize that and, (while praying that our generation hasn’t lost all capacity for earnestness,) take Perfect Harmony for what it is, you’ll have a great evening.
The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W 42nd St