'The Band's Visit' is nice while it lasts, but doesn't leave lasting impression

Friday, March 6, 2020 | by: Mat DeKinder

"The Band’s Visit” is a warm and touching little musical that feels a bit small against its lofty accolades.

The musical romped through the 2018 Tony Awards, winning in 10 categories, including Best Musical. It is enjoyable to be sure, but because of its light touch, it is also mostly forgettable.

Based on a 2007 Israeli movie of the same name, “The Band’s Visit,” playing now through March 8, at the Fox Theatre, is the simple story about a wrong turn.

An Egyptian police orchestra has been invited to play in Israel, but they wind up on the wrong bus and end up stranded in a tiny town in the middle of the desert. The town is so small there is no hotel and the townspeople open their homes to the displaced musicians.

Café owner Dina (Janet Dacal) serves as spokeswoman for the villagers who all lament the fact they are stuck in the middle of nowhere without many prospects for success or happiness for that matter.

The orchestra’s leader and conductor Tewfiq (Sasson Gabay, who played the same role in the original movie) is very proper and refined, but also carries a sense of loneliness and grief with him.

Tewfiq and Dina are drawn to each other as kindred spirits who appreciate the bittersweet beauty in life that can still be found amidst heartbreak.

The songs in “The Band’s Visit” aren’t remarkable in and of themselves; however, the overall music is fantastic and easily the best part of the production.

The musical interludes and backdrop are performed primarily by the band members on stage who find themselves lounging around the village with nothing to do but break in to a performance or two.

The music is in the classical Arabic style and is performed with great skill and flair. These performances alone are worth the price of admission.

In the end, “The Band’s Visit” comes and goes and much like it was for the villagers in the story, it was nice while it lasted, but didn’t leave a lasting impression.

“The Band’s Visit” is playing now through March 8, at the Fox Theatre. For tickets, call 314-534-1111 or visit metrotix.com.

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Filed Under: theater reviews