BOTTOM LINE: A bland, flat play with an intriguing subject matter.
AK-47 Sing-Along should have been brilliant. The concept is so intriguing: a Palestinian and an Israeli, two employees of Sesame Street produced out of Gaza, attempt to maintain a relationship after the Israeli is let go from the show as it aligns itself with Palestinian politics. The scenes are interwoven with moments from a creepy anti-Semitic children's show that teaches children the benefits of martyrdom. Unfortunately, a fantastic concept and really great marketing (their material touts a line that, to paraphrase, states "Don't send hate mail unless you've seen the show," thus making it sound particularly edgy) are maybe the only positive things going for this show.
While playwright Samara Weiss has a nice idea, the dialogue feels stilted and artificial, and the play never feels like it goes anywhere. Director Lucy Cashion does nothing to help shape climactic moments into the piece, and so the entire story falls flat. Characters talk about coffee with the same urgency that they talk about politics and bombs, which is to say without much at all. The cast, generally speaking, doesn't do much to help the situation either. Much of the dialogue is delivered awkwardly; stumbling over lines in a professional production is a pet peeve of mine and it happens here in abundance.
It is possible that with work - a lot of work - AK-47 Sing-Along could be shaped into a piece that is worthy of its idea. But as it is, I don't recommend it to anyone except for those extraordinarily interested in the politics of the piece.
(AK-47 Sing-Along plays at HERE Arts Center- Mainstage Theater, 145 Sixth Ave, through August 21st. Remaining performances are 8/18 at 5pm and 8/21 at 12pm. For more information visit www.ak47singalong.com/ak47singalong/AK-47_Sing-Along.html. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and are available at FringeNYC.com, by calling 866.468.7619, or in person at FringeCENTRAL, located at 1 East 8th Street at 5th Avenue. There is NO LATE SEATING for Fringe NYC shows.)