Caitlin Gallogly, left, and Patricia Canale in "No Time to Weep." (Stephen Beitler )
In 1944, 14-year-old Lucy Deutsch, a young Czech girl, was rousted from her home with her parents and two siblings and transported to Auschwitz. Of her family, only she survived.
Now in her 80s, Deutsch tells her story in the autobiographical musical "No Time to Weep," a rental production at the Matrix that features a book by Deutsch, lyrics by Deutsch and Deedee O'Malley, and music by O'Malley and Ivor Pyres, who also directs.
Reviewing such a heartfelt endeavor feels a bit like correcting the grammar on a lovingly handcrafted Valentine. The enterprise brings to mind Arlene Croce's controversial 1994 essay, "Discussing the Undiscussable," which coined the term "victim art."
Croce had a point. This fiercely personal victim's tale has the weight of history behind it, and it's hard to ignore the voices of one's better angels, which whisper that Deutsch's sheer heroism should, just perhaps, trump theatrical expertise.
Still, at the risk of sounding churlish, "Weep" needs work. Pyres' direction dooms these intrepid Jews to wander aimlessly, largely devoid of adequate blocking or compositional focus. And the second act, which chronicles Lucy's fortunes after Auschwitz, is fuzzily delineated and anticlimactic.
Yet there are bright spots amid the murk, particularly Caitlin Gallogly as young Lucy. Gallogly is a petite dynamo with an angelic voice whose professionalism is a high point in this sincere but flawed production.
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"No Time to Weep," Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Ends June 3. $30. (323) 960-7780. www.Plays411.com/notime. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.