Poor Boy, the MTC's first presentation in the new Sumner Theatre, is a mixed bag. It places twelve Tim Finn songs in a plot by Matt Cameron, and the result is certainly worth pondering.
Most fundamentally, there is a pervasive sense that the songs, written over nearly thirty years and not created with theatre in mind, have been imposed on the story, or vice versa; there is simply no necessary link between the two elements at many points, the plot and characterisations are effectively suspended by the music, or a pleasant concert interrupted by an extraneous story line. At two and half hours, attention begins to flag. Moreover the actors have variable success with the music, some singing more in character and with more ability than others, but none aided by an often too-loud band.
A gentle fable about reincarnation and redemption, Poor Boy's disparate elements do not cohere too well, despite beautiful staging by Simon Phillips and generally good performances, notably by Greg Stone and Sarah Peirse.
Melbourne Theatre Company presents
by Matt Cameron and Tim Finn
Venue: MTC Theatre, Sumner
Dates: 21 January to 8 March
Tickets: From $58.20 (Under 30s – $30)
Bookings: MTC Theatre Box Office 03 8688 0888 or mtc.com.au