Verb Ballets’ ‘The Masque,’ based on the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, can’t hide its flaws

Dancers of Verb Ballets and members of the musical group Shadowbox Live in "The Masque: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe," which had its world premiere Friday night at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Cleveland. (Elisha Cerino)
Dancers of Verb Ballets and members of the musical group Shadowbox Live in “The Masque: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe,” which had its world premiere Friday night at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Cleveland. (Elisha Cerino)

Reviewed by Steve Sucato
Special to The Plain Dealer 

“Disappointing” best describes Verb Ballets’ “The Masque: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe.”

The rock opera-styled ballet that had its world premiere at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts at St. Ignatius High School on Friday night had enormous potential, given Verb’s talented dancers, Poe’s iconic poems and stories, and the brilliant musical talents of Columbus-based Shadowbox Live. That combination should have produced a winner.

Instead, however, the two-hour production was plagued by noncohesive, mostly amateur-level choreography that made it more of a bust.

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Dancers of Verb Ballets and members of the musical group Shadowbox Live in "The Masque: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe," which had its world premiere Friday night at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Cleveland. (Mark Horning)
Dancers of Verb Ballets and members of the musical group Shadowbox Live in “The Masque: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe,” which had its world premiere Friday night at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Cleveland. (Mark Horning)