Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: Chalk Zone Live

Storytelling can be simple. All you need is a place to share it. And maybe a little chalk. In Alex Curtis’ Chalk, Curtis creates a world of his own on the walls of the Kraine Theater where his dreams become a reality. Chalk is cute and easily an audience pleaser but by no means is it perfect.
Chalk is a great idea in theory. Using a little bit of clowning and a whole lot of imagination, Curtis concocts a story that harkens back to the good ol' silent comedies and comedians. With all the ingredients ready to create something special, there still seemed to be something missing. And that is a soundtrack. Yes, Chalk is a silent comedy. But there was occasional sound coming from actor and effects alike. When Curtis incorporated music, the excitement was immediately amped up. The post heartbreak beat with the fantastic choreography with the coat rack and sappy song was pure perfection. Curtis needed more of that. Prior to this beat, Curtis would only use elements, either movement, drawing, or sound cues but when they're all combined, it worked wonders. It made things active. While it may have strayed from Curtis’ initial concept, deviating a bit can sometimes elevate a piece. Rather than having a singular director, Curtis had a group of “Outside Eyes” assist him in his development. Having multiple vantage points can be worthwhile but in the end, there was a strong lack of a cohesive vision. And that clearly came in the form of the length of the beats. Chalk starts off slow, overextending some early moments, when it does finally get going, Chalk is endearing.
As a performer, Curtis has a flair for physicality. He is a delight to watch, capturing hearts and breaking them when his does. The character Curtis creates is goofy, falling all over the stage. His relationship with the coat rack, expertly crafted by Alex Haynes, is unbelievably special.
Chalk is a show that will warm your heart but it’s all a show that is still a work in progress. In time, Alex Curtis will have a hit on his hands. It just needs a little more fleshing out.