Rockville 2069, running at Artscape Theatre until 7 September, takes you 55 years into the future, to the 100th celebration of Woodstock. As the festival of music and love kicks off, Earth is assaulted by various natural disasters, leaving only a archipelago of islands and a few survivors. Some of them are lucky to find themselves encapsulated in a force field that helps them survive; others are not and start scheming a plan to take over the community of Rockville.
The fortunate group, lead by Papa (Joseph Clark), has to do what they love most, to keep the force field up...make music. Audiences of this production will fall in love with the effort the writers Johnny Ray and Bruno Paiola has gone to, to keep the force field going. The beautiful sounds of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and a seven-piece rock band, under the direction of conductor Steven Wright, is enough to keep your feet tapping and the talented cast offers a variety of styles to enjoy. Unfortunately, at times, not all of the cast were clearly audible due to microphones not being switched on at the right times - a technicality we are sure that team would take care of.
The use of 3D animation and a 100m2 LED screen sure adds to the extravagance of the production. But this was sometimes dampened a bit by the slow transitions from one scene into the other, which left audience and actor alike waiting.
There is something very familiar about Rockville that you will like. The variety of characters makes it easy to relate to at least one of them and we were happy to see that the producers feel that there is still a place for books in the year 2069.
Although it won't disappoint, other elements seemed a bit awkward. You do expect a musical, about the power of music, to feature actors that are able to play musical instruments. And although we love a good battle of the bands, we feel that the story could be condensed a little bit more.
Rockville 2069 offers an interesting combination of music, technology and talent and emphasizes the importance of a voice being heard.