The artistic mode known as the musical usually rests on the foundation of a dramatic plot, with passionate music marking the profound and emotive elements of the production's story. Songs For A New World takes a much more vaguer stance than this and instead relies on a theme of voyage, which the songs of the production are loosely associated. Does this attachment to the musicality of the piece pay off?
Well partially. A New World, a turgid, cheesy number, helps to subtly hold the production together with its recurrence and skirts it away from merely being a concert. However, with Songs For A New World, it becomes hard not just to sit back and lose interest in what is occuring on stage, due to the lack of intrigue inspired. The space is sparse, though efficiently utilised, but highlights how Augustine's is a poor venue for this ambitious musical. At points, such as in the beautifully sung I'm Not Afraid of Anything, the vocal line is utterly inaudible. Songs For A New World has achieved something serene and sublime - with some dashes of humour in the well performed number Surubaya Santa - but needs to reinvestigate how to hold the audience's attention for the musical's duration. Glitz, an extremely talented and attractive cast, some well placed chairs and a supportive orchestra is not quite enough, one feels.
Despite the criticisms made, Songs For A New World is worth seeing, especially for its sparkle and quality of performance. It needs to perchance find other ways of employing the vague plot it has been given; this plot's vaguery partly being the musical's charm, which would allow its fresh, new outlook to flourish. The songs of Songs For A New World are really rather good too.