WEIGHTLESS is a nice and rambling mythical adaptation with rock music

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If you ever wanted a Mumford & Sons album with a plot, or maybe a Brandi Carlile X Anaïs Mitchell collaboration, in weightlessness at the WP Theater is for you. Led by self-proclaimed “theatrical rock band” The Kilbanes (Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses), in weightlessness is enjyable, but sometimes disjointed. Sitting at around 75 minutes, it’s a stylized foray into rock, mythology and brotherhood that can be lighthearted if you let it.

The exposition is simple: we entered a concert-like narrative of the Procne and Philomela sisters mythos, with our lead actors Kilbane (as Procne and lead bassist) and Lila Blue (as Philomela) performing the concert , telling parts of the story and interpreting others. The songs are fun and the tone on stage is playful and humorous, at least at first. Unlike a big-budget musical or a cutting-edge new play, this piece sits quite comfortably in the middle of the landscape. Performances by Josh Pollock (playing the dubiously immoral Tereus and guitar) and Kofy Brown (as the all-knowing god Iris, also wielding percussion and bass) provide layers of conflict and emotion that thankfully go beyond the trope of ” two separated sisters” (I saw Frozen).

Kofy Brown and Lila Blue in in weightlessness | Photo: Joan Marcus

While the songs offer vivid imagery and have the benefit of catchy melodies, the show’s dialogue lacks contrast. Though sparse, the occasional spoken line appears to be more of a last-minute addition, a stopper to quickly resolve plot holes between the numbers. I would have much preferred to see a fully-scored show or a musical with longer, more legit scenes — not a combination of long songs and the occasional four-to-five line insertion that feels like a wasted opportunity.

The show flourishes when it is more of a real themed concert. Instrumentalists are diversely talented in their respective fields. With Kilbane and Brown seamlessly moving through the songs as they play, plus Moses on keys and Dan Harris on percussion, there’s no doubting the band’s skill. Blue delivers a stunning performance near the end after the story’s difficult and surprising turn to something darker than the one we started with.

At the end of the day, in weightlessness falls victim to its setting and space – in an attempt to diversify the playground that is WP Theater, the show built platforms and a system of pseudo-staircases for different instrumentalists which ultimately focus most of the action on a small area of ​​the stage. Not only is the physical work limited to a compact flat stage surface, but the performers must also swing fully within arm’s length of common audience members. As musicians push further and further into seats, the chances of uncomfortable eye contact increase. What may work for mic-less drama doesn’t translate to a amped-up musical aimed at a rock concert. For what it’s worth, the pre-show set-up of flickering candles and a playlist with songs from Alabama Shakes and Florence and the Machine create a great vibe (stage by Peiyi Wong, sound by Joanna Lynne Staub) .

While there may be a few missteps, the show brings something new and different to the frequently attempted field of mythology with a contemporary twist. It rocks harder than anything else on the Upper West Side.

in weightlessness now playing at WP Theater. For more information, click here.

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