Drum Struck, an interactive drumming show with South African roots, has arrived off-Broadway. The show opened at Dodger Stages on June 16. Did critics feel the beat?
Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
Kevin Manganaro in his Broadway.com Review: “Product or not, Drum Struck which sorely deserves a title that doesn’t sound quite so lame takes a step towards diversity in the New York theater. Looking over the cast bios, one sees a different language listed as being spoken by nearly every cast member, painting Drum Struck as a tapestry of myriad African traditions…. Perhaps a show like this can bring a new, excitable audience to the theater, which would be the loveliest tribute possible. If other uninspired ‘event’ shows can take root off-Broadway, this show, with its energetic, accessible format, deserves to enjoy a healthy run as well.”
Frank Scheck of The New York Post: “While percussion presented outside of a concert hall is beginning to wear a bit thin for this reviewer, it’s worth noting that the rest of the audience felt otherwise. Delighted children and scores of adults banged away on the drum clutched tightly between their legs as if newly released from an asylum. The audience’s efforts pale in comparison, however, with those of the performers, who demonstrate not only amazing rhythmic abilities, but also enough high energy, athleticism and charisma to make a compelling case for drumming as a future Olympic event.”
Mark Blankenship of Variety: “Originally developed in South Africa, this ‘drum-theater experience’ blends traditional African instruments, song and dance into an infectious musical event. And it’s not just the flawless ensemble that gets in on the fun: Since there’s a drum at every seat, the audience becomes its own rhythm section. The show succeeds as feel-good entertainment.”
Peter Santilli of The Associated Press: “It traveled a long way to get here, but Drum Struck, the widely acclaimed African percussion and dance musical, is sure to receive a warm welcome and feel right at home in New York…. Even when audience participation is not solicited, there are few if any conflicts with onstage music. Instead, the fledgling drummers easily fall into step, thanks to the talented troupe of 11 performers–eight men and three women–who captivate with abundant skill and exuberance. Despite its name, this show involves much more than just beats. Traditional dancing, an ornate set and artfully painted performers adorned in radiant costumes provide colorful splendor for the eyes.”
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