‘Breakfast Club’ Ripoff Stuck in Awkward Stage

Phantom Band” is the story of a group of Santa Cruz high-school misfits who meet up once a week for band practice — and, of course, to together overcome the challenges of the almighty growing pain. When a mysterious mute violinist joins the group, though, everything gets turned upside down, forcing the kids to re-examine their relationship with the world around them.

Should make for a winning rehash of “The Breakfast Club” and “Glee,” right? Unfortunately, it’s more a hasty summary of both. The gang’s all here: the brain, the princess, the basket case, the criminal and the leader of the pack: a beautiful overachiever with a stick up her ass. And sophomore Master of Fine Arts playwright Krista Knight’s characters hardly evolve at all over the course of the play, leaving us unsure of what Knight was so afraid of. We only get insight into main character Deto’s past, and — though well-acted — even that storyline is far from groundbreaking. Sorry, Deter, but John Bender had an alcoholic parent, too.

After all that, “Band” peeters out with a disappointing conclusion we could see coming from a mile away. In fact, the only part of the play that doesn’t make for complete deja vu is its parting “message” — a tacked-on lesson about the music of life being a combination of the good times and the bad. And even that feels force-fed, for obvious reasons.

The vast majority of these downfalls can be attributed to a lackluster script. The actors, on the other hand, are charming, and the set is a work of art: A giant suspended tree branch simulates the forest, and the lighting fluctuates perfectly with the tone of the dialogue. But with a theme this uninspired, the whole presentation is pretty much doomed. Unless you’re game for a particularly snoozeworthy sermon on coming of age in America, skip this unnecessary flashback to the horrors of high school.

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