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A CurtainUp Review
Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen
By Julia Furay
Like Spelling Bee, however, Victoria Martin isn't really about winning tournaments. Rather, it's about the joys and agonies of growing up. These teenagers may like math, but they've got all the same problems as everyone else: trying to fit in, falling for the wrong person, fighting with your mom, stressing about tests, and so on. Beginning with the title character: even Victoria Martin (Jessi Campbell), the shallow, popular, gum-snapping sophomore, has problems that are only revealed when she's roped into joining the math team with a bunch of nerdy misfits.
It's an old story, something straight out of an after-school special: a popular kid meets a group of outcasts, and each finds out there's more to the other than meets the eye. Given that, what makes Victoria Martin more charming than clichéd? To begin with, there's the cast, who not only are individually terrific,but also feature a wonderful camaraderie that really makes this group feel like a team. all the boys are nerdy without simply poking fun at nerdiness, and oddball without being gimmicky about it. All the boys are nerdy without simply poking fun at nerdiness, and oddball without being gimmicky about it. The "sorta cute, sorta normal" but still nerdy senior (Zachary Booth), his inseparable junior best friends Max and Franklin(Tobias Segal and Matthew Stadelmann) and the incredibly awkward and adorably naive freshman (Adam Farabee) all come to realize they're not as similar as they once thought.
Then there's Victoria herself. Thanks to Jessi Campbell's winning performance — by turns vulnerable and snotty — Victoria is just as likeable as the gauche teammates she eventually befriends.
Walat's script contains occasional flashes of depth, especially when examining the sudden chasm in Max and Franklin's relationship. For the most part, however, it is effervescent and engaging without delving too deep into teenage torment. This play contains more similarity to the movie Clueless than it does to Spring Awakening, as far as high school angst goes. The same goes for director Loretta Greco's staging, which generally emphasizes comedy over theatricality and could use more dramatic tension. Consequently, this surprising, frothy entry into the Women's Project canon, is not likely to stay with you very long after the curtain goes down; nor is it really a non-musical rival to the Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It is nevertheless a solid and enjoyable production.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide