For all its abundant length, “Time and Again” is beautifully played out under Jack O’Brien’s creatively organized staging, aided immeasurably by the expressionistic designs of John Conklin (sets), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting), Wendall K. Harrington (projections) and Chic Silber (special effects).
Though outweighed considerably by the book, the music and lyrics of Walter Edgar Kennan are thoroughly original and engrossing, due in no small part to Chris Walker’s inventive, atonal orchestrations.
Writer Jack Viertel has certainly given O’Brien and crew a lot of plot machinations to deal TX: TX:The Old Globe Theatre Simon Edison Centre for the Performing Arts presents a musical in two acts with book by Jack Viertel, music and lyrics by Walter Edgar Kennedy, based on the novel by Jack Finney. Directed by Jack O’Brien; What’s lacking is a feeling of continuity in the growing love between Si and Julia. McGillin and Luker are radiant as the lovers, and their duet of “Time and Time Again” is the highlight of the second act.
But because so much attention is paid to tangents, it’s difficult to sustain attention to this work’s main attraction: the great love affair intended to overpower the restrictions of time, the writing of history and the needs of the U.S. government.
The plot also fails to establish Si as the enigmatic creature everyone describes him as. Julia and Kate voice their mutual frustration in the duet, “Who Are You Anyway?,” but there is nothing in McGillin’s boyish, matter-of-fact perf that evokes any mystery at all. It is also too bad that Kate has to lose out. As played by the superlatively smart, sexy and witty Molaskey, Si might well have lost more than he gained.
The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent. Carpenter is a perfect scientific curmudgeon, quite moving when he explodes with grief and rage as his life’s work is turned into an Orwellian monster by the government.
William Parry is doubly villainous as the government’s icy career officer, Ruben Prine, and the abusive civil servant turned blackmailer Pickering.
Offering welcome musical comedy relief to much of the dour doings are Danny Burstein and KT Sullivan as Si’s ad company cohorts.