The musical opens with a big dance number that features a mermaid, giant, witch and every other character we've yet to formally meet. Subsequently, the score provides only enough to keep the audience engaged up to the show's tearjerking finale.
The good news is that Blood and Gifts is an intimate show staged in TimeLine's home space, the church on Wellington just west of Broadway. The bad news is that the intimacy restricts the number of people who will get to experience the work.
Smith's most significant accomplishment is in revealing the impact of the spontaneously spoken word. As she lets her subjects talk -- and think -- and hesitate -- and talk some more, what emerges is often quite magnificent.