NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 6:03 PM
There’s something automatically appealing, even inspirational, in a story about people who accept themselves even when others don’t. Which is why the musical “Southern Comfort” proves earnest and admirable.
But the show’s also ultimately disappointing.
Based on a 2001 documentary, “Southern Comfort” chronicles the final year or so in the life of Robert Eads, who transitioned from female to male and ended up facing ovarian cancer. Robert and his closeknit transgender pals and girlfriend Lola Cola (Jeff McCarthy), grapple with that cruel twist of fate and their own hardships in rural Georgia.
Created by Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis and directed by Thomas Caruso, the country-tinged musical at the Public Theater comes off as didactic more than it fires intense emotions. Despite strong performances and a fine on-stage group of musicians, “Southern Comfort” doesn’t thoroughly convince that the story is one that should be a musical. One wonders if it would be better off being a play.