Reviews NYCOff-Broadway Published 28 January 2019

Review: Weightless at BRIC

BRIC ⋄ 11 January - 13 January

The Kilbanes retell the story of Philomena and Procne in a concert setting, but the narrative gets lost in the music. Joey Sims reviews.

Joey Sims
"Weightless" at BRIC (Photo: Julie Schuchard)

“Weightless” at BRIC (Photo: Julie Schuchard)

The Kilbanes’ Weightless is a minor work, if still a pleasurable one. Presented at the BRIC House as part of the Under the Radar Festival, the show takes a concert staging approach similar to The Bengsons’ recent Hundred Days. Loosely adapted from the story of Procne and Philomela found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, it concerns the separation and eventual reunion of two sisters bound by a mystical love. There is some narration and minimal dialogue, but mostly, it is a story told through song.

The story is fairly straightforward but, as presented here, there are some holes. Procne and Philomela are initially torn apart by a hunter named Tereus, who lures Procne to his island with sultry words. Given the intensity of the bond which has been established between the sisters, Procne’s casual abandoning of Philomela rings false. Her powerlessness before Tereus is also difficult to accept, given the strength projected by Kate Kilbane in the role. As the story grows ever more fantastical (following Ovid’s lead), complaints about plausibility start to seem moot. But Weightless never quite recovers from its undercooked opening.

What works here is, of course, the music. The Kilbanes have composed a number of thrilling pieces, brought to vibrant life by a small band. The title song is particularly effective and Josh Pollock imbues Tereus’ songs with a wonderfully devilish energy. But the stars are, of course, Kilbane and Lila Blue (who plays Philomela). The characters’ bond may live inconsistently in the story, but when their two gorgeous voices join as one, the effect is stirring.

The show’s narrative never reaches the heights of its songs, a frustration I also felt with Hundred Days. It’s hard not to feel, sometimes, that shows told in a concert setting consider their narrative demands to be less. It isn’t the case – a half-formed story will always sink your show, regardless of form. Weightless is a pleasure to hear, but it muddles towards a messy finale, never quite finding its wings.


Joey Sims

Joey Sims is a critic and playwright based in Brooklyn. He was written for Sketch Show at The PIT, and conducted research for The Civilians. His work has also been produced at Bard College, where he earned a BFA in literature. Joey has worked as a script reader for Manhattan Theatre Club and The Public Theater, and has written for American Theatre Magazine. He was previously a Web Assistant at Playbill.com, and is currently an Operations Manager at TodayTix.

Review: Weightless at BRIC Show Info


Produced by Under the Radar Festival, BRIC, Z Space, piece by piece productions

Directed by Becca Wolff

Written by The Kilbanes

Cast includes Lila Blue, Julia Brothers, Dan Harris, Kate Kilbane, Dan Moses, Joshua Pollock

Original Music The Kilbanes

Link
Show Details & Tickets

Running Time 1hr 25min


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