There are odd bits and pieces here and there; dancing clouds, trippy businessmen, sweet gay tourists (I happily think I saw), and a strangely designed plane, left for us to try to sort out and make sense of. There are some clever bits of action and dialogue pulled out from the lyrics and tossed back at us with a big wide wink that give a chuckle, and the playful jokes are obvious but funny. The all-around handyman/dishwasher/masseuse, Jamal, played with a tropical twang and broad silly appeal by Andre Wark (Broadway’s Something Rotten!) saunters in and out, cracking a joke, and singing some enjoyable songs but most of his moments, and a few other scenes throughout, feel overly complicated, pointless and discardable. He is given a great song, “Volcano” to start the second act with, and as the others scamper around him afraid of what is coming, he holds our attention center stage with ease and charm. That’s basically how the whole second act starts to feel. The story lines start climbing on top of one another, and instead of getting untangled under the “Moonstruck” sky, they seem to become more and more complicated and convoluted the further you travel away from the island. One starts to wonder how the book writers and director, Christopher Ashley (Come From Away, Memphis) plan to tie this all up in the end. Instead of trusting in the construct of love they have steadily created with Rachel and her “10 Things I Hate About You” reasons for saying ‘no’, Escape to Margaritaville adds a twist that doesn’t fully resonate, something along the lines of ‘love won’t come to you unless you are a successful award-winning singer/songwriter’, and not just a beach bum on an island singing “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” drinking songs to tourists. Tully’s second act rise is as fast as Rachel’s first act fall into his loving arms, and although somewhat insulting in structure and meaning, the two leads, filled to the brim with awesome talent and incredible voices, sell us their story solidly and with the ease of a good bartender serving up a “Cocktail” like Tom Cruise. Without the four leads at the wheel of this thing, this trip with the free wheeling Buffett might have been a disaster, “Definitely, Maybe“.
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com