Down Stage Right Productions
SILENCE! The Musical music and lyrics by Jon & Al Kaplan, book by Hunter Bell

Dates and Venue July 25 - August 3 2019, 8pm (Friday Aug 2 @ 7pm & 10pm) | Goldcorp Stage, BMO Theatre Centre 162 West 1st Ave.

Director Mark Carter. Choreography Ken Overbey Costume Design Julie White Musical Director Jeremy Hoffman Graphic Design Barret Chapman Sound Design Sebastian Finch Stage Manager tanya Schwaerzle

Reviewer John Jane

Silence! The Musical, is an unauthorized parody of Jonathan Demme’s 1991 psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs that starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. This stage musical version, though deliberately irreverent, faithfully follows the original storyline. That pretty much means that if you missed seeing the film, or saw it and can’t remember anything about it, you might have difficulty grasping the gist of its perplexing premise.

Not to worry, engagement in the story is not an especially critical part of the fun. Director Mark Carter’s use of a black box set and (very) basic props, Not to mention a bunch of ridiculously ribald songs (the titles didn’t even make it into the program) lend itself to an audience friendly, Fringe Festival style production.

Because Silence of the Lambs took itself so seriously, it was always going to be susceptible to satire. The partnership of Clarice Starling, a junior FBI agent, played with stoic authority by Jodie Foster and an incarcerated forensic psychiatrist who isn’t called Hannibal the Cannibal for nothing, was just waiting to be lampooned.

The show kicks off with a troupe of cheerful lambs, attired in floppy white ears and hooves, singing one of the least offensive songs. These willing lambs seem totally aware of the wackiness, but fully commit anyway. They also take on the intentionally cumbersome props movement.

Stephanie Liatopoulos delivers an appropriate deadpan performance of Clarice. She even manages to play it straight in an unlikely duet of Quid Pro Quo with Seth Gordon Little. Little himself does what he can as Hannibal Lecter. It’s a tough task competing with Anthony Hopkins, but the Vancouver actor just about acquits himself ably without being too much of a caricature. His character’s fixation on Clarice’s genitals merges into If I Could Smell Her C**t, a hilarious musical number delivered with neatly choreographed dance moves. Mike Kovac might have considered that less is more when overdoing it as cartoonish villain Buffalo Bill.

Ken Overbey wisely keeps the choreography simple. Jeremy Hoffman’s musical direction is spot on - even when the voices aren’t. Julie White’s clothing is notably impressive without blowing the budget.

Silence! The Musical, could at some point turn out to be a bigger cult favourite than the film it so gleefully spoofs.

© 2019 John Jane