Spokesong

A wonderful play that needn’t have been a musical. The actors have nice enough voices, but the songs do nothing to advance the plot. They feel extraneous, thrown in as an afterthought, serving only to extend the production with awkward choreography. Yet once you look past the music, you find a work both charming and profound. Frank, the owner of a Belfast bike shop in the 1970’s, struggles to hang on to tradition, battling violence on one front and urbanization on another. Plus, there’s a new girl in his life. In a parallel story, we see Frank’s grandfather, who first opened the bike shop around the turn of the century. The shop might have gone under when he joined the military if not for the girl in his life. Playwright Stewart Parker occasionally employs an infomercial tone, and if you don’t go in convinced of the health, environmental, and social benefits of biking, he certainly hopes you leave that way. (The extent to which the bicycle was instrumental in the women’s liberation movement is debatable, but I can’t discount the theory.) BRENT ARONOWITZ 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends June 8.

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: May 15. Continues through June 8, 2008

 
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