Thursday, November 15, 2012

Well-Strung - Not Your Father's String Ensemble

The Dish: The four handsome musicians who make up Well-Strung show that they are more than just pretty faces.  Whether you're a music lover or just like eye candy, this is the show for you.

Synopsis: Edmund Bagnell (Violin), Christopher Marchant (Second Violin), Daniel Shevlin (Cello) and Trevor Wadleigh (Viola) move and amuse their audience as they play a combo of well-known classics and modern pop hits, ably arranged by David Levinson.

In Depth: You couldn't swing a cat in P'town this summer without hitting one of the boys from Well-Strung.  They were everywhere.  When they weren't performing at the Art House, they were out front playing for the crowds on Commercial Street and handing out flyers.  They showed up at Showgirls, P'town's terrific talent show.  You'd see them out and about quite a lot.

Despite that, I only managed to see bits and pieces of their work.  Thank goodness they came to New York, so I could see more than just the snippets I'd seen during the summer.

First, the obvious.  Their name is pretty awesome.  It lets the audience know that they're in for a fun and cheeky evening, and shows that they know they're playing for a mostly gay male crowd.  I mean, what gay man could resist a pun like that?

And let's face it, they are hot.  Even if they never played a note, they're fun to look at.  One has an adorable baby face; another is ripped; one is tall, dark and handsome; and one has a great mischievous smile.  But when they play, it's easy to forget all that and focus on the music.  Whether it's Bach and Mozart or Britney and Rihanna, these four burn it up.

Some of the best moments of the show come from watching the four musicians interact with one another during the songs.  Smiles, nods, broad gestures with their body, a slight roll of the eye - all of this is as entertaining to watch as the music is to listen to.

Though they have the looks and the musical talent, the one thing that could use a little work is their patter.  The music is often framed by stories (either about themselves, their lives, their loves, or what have you).  Some of this is a little clunky.  While it's meant to sound like the guys just chatting with the audience, it comes across as the guys reciting their lines.  If they were just as relaxed and natural as they are when they play, the show would be nearly perfect.

Sadly, their current show has closed, but you can keep up with Well-Strung on their website (

Here's a little sample of Well-Strung in action.

Featuring: Edmund Bagnell, Christopher Marchant, Trevor Wadleigh and Daniel Shevlin
Conceived by Christopher Marchant and Mark Cortale
Written by Donna Drake and Mark Cortale
Additional Material by Jeffery Roberson
Music Arrangements by David Levinson
Additional Arrangements by Daniel Shevlin
Directed by Donna Drake
Production Stage Manager: Timothy Babcock
Lighting Design: Chris Page
Sound Design: Shelley Jennings
Spotlight: Valerie Stanford

The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA
10 West 64th Street

Closed November 10th, 2012

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