Weird Romance | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The show must go on!

Even with my well-exercised antipathy toward some of theater's more fabled customs, I do believe that, no matter what, you never stop the show.

So a big basket of flowers to local actor Matt Lamb, who proved during the opening night of Weird Romance, at The Theatre Factory, that theatrical fortitude is not dying out ... at least not on his watch.

You see, he dislocated his shoulder -- and kept on going! Near the end of the first act, he slipped in a puddle on the floor, knocked into a stairpost and fell. It all happened so fast I wouldn't have given it another thought ... except for a quite mirthless smile frozen on his face. Then I noticed that even though he was singing/acting/dancing with plenty of oomph ... his right hand was dangling motionlessly.

Once the house lights came up for intermission, a young woman two seats from me jumped up and flew backstage. It turns out she was his wife, and she returned with the news that he'd popped his arm back into the socket and was all ready for the second act!

And that's why they're called troopers. God bless the little darling and, judging from his performance the rest of the night, it's doubtful he even remembered what happened by evening's end.

It should be noted that, as regards the first act of this 1992 Alan Menken/David Spence musical, that was definitely the high point. (But I'm not suggesting Mr. Lamb dislocate his shoulder every night.)

Weird Romance is certainly one of the few science-fiction musicals in the canon. It's two self-contained stories about men and women falling in and out of love, though there's a little Pygmalion/Galatea feel to both.

The first, "The Girl Who Was Plugged In," really doesn't bear much scrutiny. But "Her Pilgrim Soul," about a hologram moving toward self-awareness, is considerably more interesting. And it shows off Menken's music and the talents of this skilled cast to much greater effect.

Scott Patrick Calhoun's swift, but curiously cluttered, direction moves the show briskly, providing a showcase for the fine voices of the company. Robyne Parrish is quite moving as the female lead in "Pilgrim," and, whether or not his humerus is connected to his glenoid, Lamb is a polished and professional performer.


Weird Romance continues through Oct. 11. The Theatre Factory, Cavitt Avenue and Third Street, Trafford. 412-374-9200.

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