Fringe review: ‘Once Upon a Pill’

Once Upon a Pill, Gypsy Productions, Winter Park. Pink venue, 60 minutes, $9. (Discounts: Anyone showing birth-control pills — any brand.)

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

Cast and creators of 'Once Upon a Pill'

The notion of writing a musical comedy about the birth-control pill sits uneasily on Once Upon a Pill, a musical comedy by Jill Craddock, which uses new lyrics wedded to very old-fashioned songs to try to find comedy (and a little drama) in the Pill.

The problem is that Craddock doesn’t even mention the pill until 30 minutes into the show, which centers on the friendship of three women, two of them single and one of them wed. The concept of abortion turns up uncomfortably in the middle of what has been fairly broad comedy, before the show ends with no resolution at all.

Craddock has used songs from my parents’ and grandparents’ generation to marry to her lyrics — probably because they’re free of copyright issues. But songs like “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey” and “Give My Regards to Broadway” seem very strange as the basis for 21st-century sentiments about childbirth and contraception.

There’s talent among the cast, especially from the more experienced members, and a lot of the harmonies are nice. But the lyrics are mostly clunky, and it’s hard to avoid thinking that this talent could have been put to better use in another show.

Remaining shows:
Tuesday May 24, 9:20 p.m.
Thursday May 26, 11:20 p.m.
Saturday May 28, 8:45 p.m.
Sunday May 29, 12:30 p.m.

Note: Writer Jill Craddock says that the birth-control pill is in fact mentioned between the 10th and 12th minutes of this show, not 30 minutes in, as I claimed. I’m afraid I didn’t remember that mention when I was writing this review.

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