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Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil – The Acorn Theatre, New York

Book: Emilie Landmann

Music: Jonathan Quesenberry

Lyrics: Carrie Morgan

Choreographer: Billy Griffin

Director: Thomas Caruso

Reviewer: Robert Price

The first thing that a viewer should know is that the Devil makes no appearance in this production. Matthew sells his soul for an Oscar, and it turns out to be not-so-great for his childhood friend and agent Penny, or for his reefer-loving friend Woody Harrelson. Mephistopheles is bedazzled with rhinestones and hungry for her commission on souls. That’s the plot, but stretched from a 3 minute sketch into a 90 minute morality play, ending in a weed-induced dream ballet which does nothing to resolve what little plot is left.

The score is incredible, quoting Andrew Lloyd Webber or breaking down into a rap verse as the kooky comedy demands. The lyrics are ambitious and funny, but do little to add new information. Leslie Margherita as Mephistopheles chews the scenery at the right volume, delivering exactly what the part needs to be successful. Max Crumm is a delight as Woody Harrelson, giving a fully physical performance and then nailing his runs with ease. Wayne Wilcox is an everyman’s McConaughey, but may have had more fun amping up the goofy character traits. Jennifer Blood raps with vigor and sings beautifully. Clever scenic design by James Fenton gets its own laughs in between scenes.

The cross-section of Matthew McConaughey fans and musical theatre junkies will enjoy the references and the musical theatre shtick, especially if they perform their own weed ballet beforehand.

Runs until 16 July 2017

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