Written by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, Fugitive Songs made its debut in 'Off Broadway' New York in 2008. It's a 'mini' musical with a '19-song journey' about fleeing past lives and working out a new life whilst on the run. From Utah to West Virginia, Montana to Washington Heights, Fugitive Songs takes the audience on bus and train trips across the United States of America through six characters who are fleeing and processing problems whilst in 'flight'.
Matt played by Bailey Dunnage - photo courtesy of Lissa & Laz Photography
Relationships break ups, absent parents, a lack of childhood affection, university days, the frustration of the 9 to 5 grind in low paid work, cheating lovers, bad 'trips' in the Arizona desert, gun and bar fights are all part of Fugitive Songs exploration of dealing with life's issues, whilst travelling to no set destination.
Alysha played by Jessica Papst and Barrett played by Luisa Scrofani - photo courtesy of Lissa & Laz Photography
The true moments in the musical are realised when each character 'settles' and reflects on their experience, what could be, what may have been, regrets, and then resolve to move forward. The challenge for Director Dirk Hoult is choreographing six performers, a three-piece live band into a small theatre space like 'The Loft' at Chapel Off Chapel and 19 songs into an 80-minute show. However, the intimacy of this theatre successfully connects the audience to the storytelling and the characters Gavin (Lachlan Hammill) Barrett (Luisa Scrofani) Matt (Bailey Dunnage), Alysha (Jessica Papst), Joshua (Saxon Gray) and Karen (Anna Wilshire).
Joshua played by Saxon Gray - photo courtesy of Lissa & Laz Photography
The musical direction of Caleb Garfinkel was exceptional and the songs range in style from country and western, Americana to gospel, cabaret, jazz, exposing the diverse range of music across the USA continent and a talented cast with standout performances by Bailey Dunnage and Anna Wilshire.
Fugitive Song ensemble - photo courtesy of Lissa & Laz Photography
My favourite songs were 'Annie's Party' performed by Anna Wilshire (Karen), 'Washington Heights' performed by Saxon Gray (Joshua), 'Subway Song' and 'Kansas Sky' performed by Lachlan Hammill (Gavin), Bailey Dunnage (Matt) and Saxon Gray (Joshua), 'Wilson' performed by Bailey Dunnage (Matt), Jessica Papst (Alysha) and Anna Wilshire (Karen) and 'Growing Up' performed by Bailey Dunnage.
The Cast & Crew of Fugitive Songs - courtesy of SONDER Theatre Company
If you've ever had to flee a situation, or are a travelling spirit, you will enjoy this show. Fugitive Songs has something for everyone – especially if you love American music and guitars (there are at least three played in this show). But be quick – it's a short season at Chapel Off Chapel, and hopefully, Fugitive Songs will get another run at a theatre near you soon.