The Alley Theatre was packed to capacity last month as, after huge demand, the musical ‘Gutz’ returned to the venue for two nights following
its massively successful debut in the summer. From the pen of Strabane songwriter and composer, David Oliver, ‘Gutz’ is a highly charged extravagant parade that focuses on a year living in the feral, unmerciful, yet seductive lair of New York City.
The theme of gender inequality in the workplace is central throughout, as Casey Carson (Christina McBeth) moves to the ‘Big Apple’ and begins an internship for Davis Power Inc, one of the biggest financial players in the City. She is joined by Cole Jackson (Chris McLaughlin), a streetwise, tough young man from Philadelphia; the beautiful razor sharp Angel Martinez (Viki Temple) from Queens and Tyler Brown (Trevor McGarrigle), a well heeled, arrogant son of a rich man from so-called ‘good stock’ in New Haven.
The four begin their internship with the promise that one will be offered a full time position as an associate. Songs such as ‘Chasing Rainbows’, ‘Working in the City’ and ‘Take Just What You Need’ chronicle their journey from initial smalltown America innocence to a
weary and ever growing cynicism. We witness a hedonistic life in the fast lane, with the ever changing work/personal relationships between colleagues and lovers becoming increasingly fractured as the year progresses.
Ultimately, the thin veneer of big city egocentrism begins to unravel and all is not always what it seems! The music and choreography tuned perfectly into the emotionsof the plot; be it on the chaotic, alluring city streets, the tribal setting of the work place or the nightlife scene steeped in all types of walks and wild sides. As for the cast, they were more than up to this most challenging of productions, performing with the boisterous attitude and spark that the show demanded.
‘Gutz’ may have been devised, composed and produced in Strabane, but it more than stands-up to critique and will continue to develop and improve in future productions, more of which are on the way. The show takes itself on the road in 2016, starting with An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny in March and Derry’s Millennium Forum in May. The genie is out of the bottle about ‘Gutz’ now, so snap your tickets up for those shows right away.
By Michael Ferry http://strabaneherald.co.uk/