Not to overinflate the modest little show currently playing at the Garden Theatre, but the assemblage of "Fugitive Songs" brings to mind "The Wizard of Oz" and perhaps a bit of Homer's "Odyssey." "Fugitive Songs" is a cycle of mini-dramas sharing a common theme rather than a plot-driven musical. But the theme is that timeless one of escape from, and return to, home.
Not to overinflate the modest little show currently playing at the Garden Theatre, but the assemblage of “Fugitive Songs” brings to mind “The Wizard of Oz” and perhaps a bit of Homer’s “Odyssey.” “Fugitive Songs” is a cycle of mini-dramas sharing a common theme rather than a plot-driven musical. But the theme is that timeless one of escape from, and return to, home.
Short North Stage gathers an abundance of talent to deliver 19 songs that pair Nathan Tysen’s sharp lyrics with Chris Miller’s engaging music, under the direction of Tysen and Carrie Gilchrist.
Although “Fugitive Songs” tells no single story, it has a relatively clear arc. Burning their bridges at the beginning, each member of the ensemble of six destroys a photograph symbolic of a break with the past in “Reasons to Run.” In “Annie’s Party,” Angela Miller acerbically celebrates the end of a relationship. Melissa Hall frees herself from the failed basketball hero still stuck in high school in the scornful “Don’t Say Me.”
The arc continues as the characters wander in search of self. J.J. Parkey delivers one of the more fully realized stories of a stoned and scary highway adventure with “Wilson.” Ezekiel Andrew imagines his ex at the wheel of every vehicle as he hitchhikes cross-country in “Passing Tracy.” Dionysia Williams joins Hall in wishing that perilous opportunity would knock on their humdrum doors as they fantasize about “Poor Little Patty” Hearst, the accidental revolutionary.
Finally, the arc arrives at reconciliation with the past and the self. Viktor Nilsson joins Williams in unexpected romance in “Wildflowers.” And all those discarded photos get resurrected in “One of These Nights.”
Pianist Phil Dupont, guitarist Derrick Walter, bassist Richard Wesner, and percussionist Joe Spurlock are joined occasionally by cellist Hall in another musical reminding us that there’s no place like home.