The Band’s Visit – Orpheum Theater – Minneapolis MN – December 5th-15th 2019

Hennepin Theater Trust Company presents The Band’s Visit.

This play was reviewed on a tremendously cold night in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It was the day after a big snow and well below zero.  No one wanted to go outside, even to see a play.  Regardless, a good eighty percent of the theater was filled during this showing.

The reason I bring up the particular weather is because of the nature of this musical.  I did not read anything on this play prior to viewing it, but knew that it is about an Egyptian band that gets stuck in Israel. I’m glad I didn’t look into it too much because it was completely different than what I expected. The play was nominated for eleven Tony Awards in 2017 and took away ten, including Best Musical, beating out many more known plays, including “Frozen” and “Spongebob Squarepants”.  The plays I enjoy are the big production plays, those that play out a bit more lively. This is the complete opposite of that. The play itself is great, but it’s just a slow burn. The story is a time piece of what happens when an Egyptian band gets stuck in the wrong town in Israel. It is a nice story about what happens that evening. The pace of the play is very slow, so be prepared for that when you go into it. It makes you feel like you are in a town that is hot and slow, which is kind of nice when it’s below zero outside the theater.  Even though it is slow paced, the comedy and delivery of the lines is perfect. To have timing on stage like that is amazing. The band in the play can actually play their instruments. and throughout the play, there are little snippets of what they would play live if they were actually on tour.  Make sure not not to leave until the very end, as the band rips up one last tune after the bow.

The performers were amazing. One funny thing is that the first musical piece in the play is “Waiting”, which is exactly what it felt like in the audience at the moment.  Maybe it was intentional  to set the pace of the play.  Although the pace was slow, it’s not to say that it was a bad production.  The music in it is incredible. I have never heard solos like that before. The speed and precision was amazing, and I listen to metal all the time which has some of the most wild things ever.

I would familiarize yourself before attending this musical because it is different than your usual play.  You can just go in blind, but I wouldn’t personally recommend it.  It’s good, but much slower than the plays we typically see through Hennepin Theater Trust.  Review by Tracy Hansen