Dark Heart

Dark Heart is a Shrodinger's Cat of a show, managing to be both hopelessly amateurish and professionally polished at the same time.

These kids are bit more talented than they have any right to be, and with application might become annoyingly accomplished artists.

It’s the story of young girls inner turmoil as she tries to come to terms with the death of her sister, all while in the care of a psychiatric hospital. It doesn’t really tread any new ground in an already too often used carpet but does manage to avoid the plethora of missteps so many productions of this type take.

There is maybe about seven minutes of acting throughout the entire show, so it’s billing a musical is certainly apt. During the running time, it packs in a lot of songs of various quality. The music is scored by Jessica Avellino and she certainly can write a tune when the mood takes her. It’s hard to place the genre, a lot of it sounds like sad 90’s R&B, others are a bit on the emo side. It works best when she seems to push herself out of her writing comfort zone, as a fair chunk of the songs are a bit samey. However, in the long run, it seems she might be destined for big things.

The singing in the show is really impressive, I don’t think that I’ve actually heard so many clearly brilliant singers in a production at this level before. Whoever is coaching these kids clearly knows what they are doing. They are talented, and not in an X-Factor way that just mistakes being loud for talent, but they’ve also been taught to sing in their own voice, rather than how they think they should be singing. There is a lot of range here and the production does well to utilise all of them.

Unfortunately, it is the choreography that really lets it all down. It’s just simply not very good, it’s too basic and often fails to fit with the theme. It’s also not executed very well. These kids are young and it will probably come to them in time. But the dancing could have covered the cracks in the show and it's a shame that it doesn't, because otherwise, we’d be looking at four stars here.

Overall these kids are bit more talented than they have any right to be, and with application might become annoyingly accomplished artists. The show sometimes seems to be a pastiche of itself at times, but sometimes it’s worth supporting the stars of the future.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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The Blurb

Fun, cool, chilling. In her debut musical, writer/composer Jessica Avellino delivers an all new musical with a brash score. Emma, suffering from the accidental death of her sister, is locked in Westlake Mental Hospital. She is trapped in her mind, as she struggles for her sanity and her life. This must-see new musical thriller is filled with twists and turns that features a fresh soundtrack. Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do.