Gordon Stephen Matheson Jr.’s ‘No Matter Watt – The Musical!’ and why it does Matter

by Ernest Kearney — It was fitting that the first show of the Hollywood Fringe Festival ’21, for this reviewer, was Gordon Stephen Matheson Jr.’s No Matter Watt – The Musical! in that it embodies some of the essential and mandatory elements that give luster to any Fringe.

It is Matheson’s first show ever.
It is a uniquely personal subject.
It is a work that could be more than it is.

What Matheson has given us is a love poem to the restorative power of Alcoholics Anonymous for the rejuvenation of hope and this, in and of itself, is not a bad thing at all.

But like most love poems, except those penned by Robert Burns and other practiced poets, this sonnet for all its sincerity suffers from being unstructured and over long.

The show is lacking for a book which can leave the audience confused as to the essential “Who, What and Where the heck are we going with this?”

Also, we are left wondering as to the reasons behind some of the characters’ names: Posco Hamwich, Bill “Shubopdubayhad” Sikritz and Burndinger Chasenipples.

“No Matter Watt – The Musical!” Ensemble (Hollywood Fringe Festival ’21)

These may be in-jokes to the AA crowd, but they’re lost on the rest of us.

Also, there is the song count. West Side Story fills two acts with 17 songs, The Fantasticks boasts only 15 tune, and Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures – which, I sense, is what Matheson is shooting for – only holds 14 jingles including Pacific Overture’s overture.

At 29 songs crowded into an hour Matheson has done himself a severe disservice.

There are some nice songs in this show; Superman sung by Robert Gallegos and Claudia Rosario and Center of the Universe voiced by Jeremy Ebenstein for example. Unfortunately, those and other promising moments get swamped by the bulk of this piece.

bronze ribbon - Fringe Festival

Under the direction of Steven Vlasak, the choreography of Soda Persi and the costumes of Christine Vlasak the show does have an appealing sense to it and there is enthusiasm a-go-go here as well as potential for improvement and for that Matheson and crew deserve a Bronze Medal.

* * *


No Matter Watt – The Musical!

Story, lyrics, and music composed by Gordon Stephen Matheson, Jr.
Directed by Steven Vlasak
Musical Director: Robert Hall

* * *


The Broadwater
6320 Santa Monica Blvd

(no streaming for this one) as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival on these dates only:

Thursday, August 12 @ 5pm – Opening Night!
Sunday, August 15 @ 12:30pm – Matinee
Saturday, August 21 @ 2pm – Matinee
Sunday 8/22 @ 8pm – Closing Night!

For Tickets and Additional Information: http://hff21.co/6038


Learn More at NoMatterWatt.net

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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