Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they have a special connection, and begin to grow close to each other. How can a classic formula like that ever be original or interesting again? Perhaps, think Colla Voce Theatre, if they both intended to kill each other? Buried sees Rose (Lindsay Manion) and Harry (Sebastian Belli), outsiders with a fondness for murdering unsuspecting blind dates, decide to see if their little hobby could be fun if they worked together.
The story proceeds as one might expect any traditional love story would, with the only difference being their bonding over their gruesome habits. The tone isn’t darkly dismissive of death in the pantomime way some musicals are, but more casually macabre in places, and more serious in others. This isn’t the all-singing all-dancing musical format audiences might be used to. There are a couple of flourishes here and there, but for the most part the acting is sincere and untheatrical. That’s not a criticism; on the contrary, this musical plays almost like the performance of a concept album, with snippets of dialogue in between.
The folk-style numbers are modest and gentle, reminding you of Blind Pilot or Of Monsters and Men, juxtaposing the violent stories that unfold (even though most of the action takes place off stage). Manion’s voice is angelically soft, and is likely to draw a tear or two during her solo I’m Okay. Her character is tetchy, confident, and ironically strong-willed in regards to her morals. When discussing the questionable practices of the smartphone industry, she says “from where I’m standing, everyone’s guilty of murder”. Harry, too, is wonderfully detailed and developed. Belli’s character is clumsy, shy, but charming and optimistic. He really would be the last person you would expect to have strangled the family cat as a child. They bounce off each other with ease, and by the end you root for them to be together, just as any classic romance should.
Their story is interspersed with a second plotline on the set of a TV show The Psychopath Next Door, where a sadistic host toys cruelly with his scientist guest. It gets a couple of chuckles now and then and acts as the comedy relief, but isn’t nearly as involving as the central story. Nonetheless, with gorgeous music, rich performances, and a story we all know and love, Buried is a killer show.