Moments of Reckoning Given Soulful Voice In ‘Songs From The Brink’

It’s always exciting to find oneself stumbling upon a world premiere, especially one that shows as much promise as Songs from the Brink, a new song-cycle style musical by South Florida playwriting and composing team Robyn Eli Brenner and Mackenzie Anderson. 

The show is being presented at the Main Street Playhouse by True Mirage Theater, a small and relatively new company that has admirably managed to showcase quite a few original works by area artists in prior readings and productions. 

As per the show’s press release, this particular offering “follows four young adults as they struggle to answer some of life’s most important questions, leading them to a single decisive moment.” The sung-through musical was also divided into four distinct segments, the scene for each set by the recitation of a classic poem. 

Though some of the included songs told more satisfying stories than others, each was a pleasure to listen to, thanks not only to the talents of the composers but those of the gifted four person cast. In general, while a few less memorable musical numbers weren’t as impactful because we didn’t get enough context for the character’s dilemma or because they recapitulated familiar scenarios, others stood out for their poignant details. 

To name a few examples of the latter, in “What it Means to Be A Man,” a character movingly reflects on how specific experiences have shaped his view of masculinity, and in duet “What the Hell is Wrong With You,” a couple amusingly considers whether their other half has hidden flaws. 

But perhaps the most powerful of the bunch was an early number called “Bad Sex,” which clearly conveyed the devastating impact of an act of utter selfishness. As Woman 2, Darcy Hernandez-Gil brought an incredible intensity to the moment while also keeping up with the song’s demanding vocals.

The cast also includes Lauren C. Lopez and Raul Ramirez as Man 2 and Woman 1, who are up to the task of carrying the show’s more comedic moments as well as more emotional ones, and 

Eliasess Leon, who makes a promising debut as Man 1. Together, they shine not only individually in their solos and duets but as a unit when they join one another in gorgeous harmonies during four group numbers. Of these, the standout was likely the catchy “This Isn’t It,” which perfectly captured the sense of dissatisfaction one might feel when they realize they’ve lost control of their life’s direction. 

If there’s any major downside to point out, it may be less with the material itself than the inherent limitations of a format that focuses on individual moments as opposed to conveying a full-fledged narrative, which somewhat muted the play’s overall impact. However, especially considering the piece only demands an hour of engagement, watching these likable characters muddle through various dilemmas was nonetheless consistently compelling, which makes this production well worth a visit during its next and final weekend. If you attend, you may even find a sense of renewal and catharsis in the character’s tuneful stories, or be among the first to catch a hit in the making!

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