Moving is the operative word Movin’ Out. This dansical (term coined by critic, Clive Barnes) combines the pop music of Billy Joel with the snazzy moves of post modern goddess, Twyla Tharp. A thin story about the ups and down of the late sixties into the post war seventies lends just enough glue to hold it all together as a viable theater experience. The story revolves around a group of friends that face break-ups, marriages, the Vietnam War, the drug culture and the “me” generation of the seventies. Tharp’s finesse in getting inside the nuances of Joel’s catchy tunes propels the story and captures the feeling of those decades. Grandiose moves that evolve into natural gestures dominate Tharp’s vocabulary. Fusing modern, ballet, popular dance forms, and old fashioned Broadway showmanship, Tharp kept the kinetic engine stoked.
Men rule Movin’Out, hands down. David Gomez plays Tony with a double edge of Tharpian lyricism combined with a testosterone-fueled bravado. Gomez’s fluidity gives the dancing an organic edge that enlivens the skimpy, but effective, story. He demonstrated his extraordinary range in Big Shot. Brendan King does the bad boy, war boy, drug boy, with an uncommon athletic wit. King proved he can breakdance, do multiple back flips, and master the post-modern aesthetic with ease and big time flash. The ensemble danced with ample pizzazz although the ballet sections looked oddly placed and extraneous. Matt Wilson’s vocals provided enough of a Joel imitation to make fans feel at home. In the end, Movin’ Out seems more of a triumph for Tharp than Joel.
Reprinted from ARTSHOUSTON