This review was originally written for The Public Reviews.


See Rock City And Other Destinations takes in the sights of America with a collection of stories. A diner waitress is seduced by the romanticism of a road trip and leaves on a whim to see Rock City. A nerdy young man sets off for Roswell to look for signs of alien life. A woman taking care of her grandfather at the Alamo is unskilfully chatted up by a divorce lawyer. And so on.

Finally, we get to Niagara Falls and a tour guide offers a bride-to-be the chance to go over the falls in a barrel. At which point, after an hour and forty minutes, six strands of unrelated stories, thirteen actors and four musicians, going into the barrel sounds like a sane and refreshing idea. The lack of coherence of the mix and varied scenes is puzzling. There is a hint of spirituality with the hovering tour guide who is present in all the scenes but it is not entirely clear what his purpose is. Though there is a successful scene with two high school boys, all macho and violent, leading to a rather tender song as they ride in a ghost ride in Coney Island.

The set of Deal or No Deal style boxes is practical for the shifting scenes. Some work has gone into the well-drilled arrangement of the boxes but its purpose lacks clarity. The music is a mix of styles and the band is restrained yet still occasionally overwhelms the unamplified singing, especially if one is sitting on the right side of the auditorium next to the band. The music is not particularly memorable but the lyrics fare a little better with the odd surprise of interesting couplings.

There is a mix of standards in the singing by the enthusiastic and youthful cast. Joshua Leclair as the alien hunting Evan in Roswell has a great geeky, boyish enthusiasm. Ricky Johnston as the lingering and ever-present tour guide has a charming and radiant energy and ably deals with an awkward and mysterious role.

Sadly, the fragmented plot and uninspiring music cannot be saved by the able cast. The link between scenes is lacking and the mysterious tour guide cannot rescue this major fault. Rather than going to See Rock City,see something else instead.


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