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BWW Review: Lush Orchestration and Raunchy Humour Makes for Smooth Sailing in SOMETHING FOR THE BUOY

"Imagine On the Town with a bunch of dick jokes and you'll sort of get a picture of SOMETHING FOR THE BUOYS, a new Canadian musical by Eli Pasic. The show is equal measures charming and raunchy, with a good deal of humour and an excellent - actually, surprisingly, really good - score. Inspired by musical comedies of the 30s and 40s, SOMETHING FOR THE BUOYS follows the adventures of a group of sailors (seamen!) and burlesque dancers as they look for love in the big city.

The music riffs on the work of composers like Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and Frank Loesser. Although Pasic's compositions sometimes feel like a parody, the melodies are memorable and the instrumentation is lush; hearing these songs is like seeing an old friend in a new shirt. Pasic's lyrics, however, are decidedly contemporary, by which I mean they would make Mr Porter blush and Mr Loesser laugh til he cried.

Among the cast, Rob Sapienza and Tom Finn as the leading men are immediately compelling; funny, sympathetic, charming. Kathleen Doerkson steals her every scene as a faded, sex-starved dancer past her prime. Alison Beckwith puts on a lovely performance as the leading lady, but she sings at least two whole-tones below where she should be. The cast overall consists of capable singers and dancers, with much to owe to their clever and innovative choreographer Alayna Kellett.

In its present form, SOMETHING FOR THE BUOYS isn't quite finished. It's short - one act, 90 minutes - and, in its current iteration, at the George Ignatieff Theatre at UofT, the stage is tiny and the set is sparse. But that's how it goes with new musicals: they start small, then get a short run here, a limited time there, and then they're picked up by Mirvish, and the sky's the limit. I don't know if SOMETHING FOR THE BUOYS is destined for the Royal Alex or the Ed Mirvish Theatre, but I know that it's funny and stylish enough to deserve a longer run in a larger space."

-Louis Train

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