NEXT TO NORMAL- Arts Club 2011
WEST ENDER RReview - Andrea Warner
.... Done right, Next to Normal is powerful and riveting, digging deep inside you right from the opening number and wreaking havoc on your heart and mind well beyond the final curtain ..... oddly, the female characters are relegated to supporting status here rather than the leads. Through either Bill Millerd’s direction or Kimmel’s commanding performance (or a combination of both), Dan becomes the focal point. His emotional reckoning is Normal’s sole cathartic climax rather than another aspect of the devastating collateral damage wrought by spiraling mental illness and long-buried grief.
This production’s massive shift in focus reveals new layers to a husband’s stubborn, possibly selfish, devotion, but it does so at the expense of the story’s larger themes: what is mental illness; the efficacy of psychiatry; and survival. But, thanks to strong source material and Kimmel’s award-worthy turn, this trade-off only dilutes Normal’s powerful message rather than diminish it entirely.
AND THANK YOU ANDREA !
VANCOUVER SUN REVIEW - Peter Birnie
N2N rocks the house! ... A new Arts Club production of this powerful play, which took three Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize for drama in its Broadway debut, is blessed by an outstanding cast .... Whether in duets or trios, solos or the full ensemble, this gorgeous gaggle of voices deftly handles difficult counterpointing to reveal sophistication in every song – even the silly one spoofing My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music.
None of the singers sounds less than perfect but, perhaps because his character has the toughest row to hoe in dealing with Diana, Kimmel is simply breathtaking in his breadth and range. I look forward to hearing that every artistic director of every theatre company from here to Newfoundland and Labrador hears about this guy and wants to work with him.
THANKS PETER !