Theatre Review: “August Rush” at Paramount Theatre

Theatre Review: “August Rush” at Paramount Theatre

By Marissa Amoni

Perhaps I read “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” too many times in high school, but I felt like I got “August Rush,” now playing at Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora.

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a short story by Joyce Carol Oates that is chock full of symbolism. The difference between Paramount Theatre’s version of “August Rush” and Oates’ story, is that the critics seem to get one heavily, and the other, not at all.

After reading a third panning of “August Rush,” I am sincerely surprised that not one review has mentioned that all of the main characters are wearing a touch of red, or that the antagonist, along with August’s other “forces,” is wearing black. The musicians are wearing white.

Do I take literary devices too seriously, or are critics really missing the obvious symbolism that director John Boyle emphasizes in “August Rush”?

There is no Director’s Note in the Playbill, so the audience is left to interpret it at will.

I think the beauty of “August Rush” on the Paramount Stage is that you absolutely do not have to see the movie first, or know anything of the story. I didn’t. There’s August’s very clear world of music that plays out as rock and roll, or perhaps evil personified by Wizard, and symphony, or perhaps good personified by Hope.

August, a savant, ultimately goes with the good, and all is right in his world. At 75 minutes long, the production is perfectly timed for what is presented – a gorgeous ballad of a boy’s passion and the duality of good and evil.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talent on the stage, however the boyfriend missed the mark for me, and I wasn’t sure why he was playing an oud instead of a guitar.

With a bit more polishing, “August Rush” could be an engaging musical. Currently, it’s visually impressive avant-garde.

Paramount and Doyle are trying something new, and it’s neither good nor bad, but it is worth seeing. Read into it what you want.

Performances run through June 2: Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Single tickets are $36 to $69.

For tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.