Friday, July 15, 2011

Cannibal Musical: A Good Time With Bad Example

CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL and more with Bad Example

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Bad Example Productions does a pretty good job of showing an audience a good time on a bare stage with Cannibal! The Musical. The Trey Parker musical opened last night to an enthusiastic audience. With prioduction elements limited to a few costumes, a few puppets and a small musical set-up, the show relies really heavily on a pretty solid cast and a hugely entertaining musical spoof written by South Park/The Book of Mormon’s Trey Parker at the beginning of his career. The story of a comically doomed expedition in the old west may not have been terribly deep, but it was moved by a deep, abiding love for the American musical and a desire to mercilessly spoof it.

The production itself diverges from the 1993 film that debuted the musical in a number of places— there’s an actual actress in the role of horse and love interest Leanne, which wouldn’t have been nearly effective without a really emotionally precise performance on the part of Natasha Mortazavi. The Indians that the party run across are French, not Japanese, which makes a little bit of the story a little bit more comically disjointed, but above all this was a really fun time with Parker’s music. Honestly, Trey Parker is a really, really talented composer in the American musical format With the success of The Book of Mormon, Parker’s stuff is maddeningly catchy—every now and then I still wake-up with his What Would Brian Boitano Do? running through my head (and I haven’t seen the South Park movie since it came out over ten years ago.) With any luck, Parker and Stone will be doing more musical work outside of South Park soon . . .

And Bad Example is going on to do more work beyond Cannibal. The theatre company that opened with Fahrenheit 451 last summer and followed through with Cannibal this summer has announced TWO shows for 2012—a stage adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 and a strikingly clever Shakespeare riff with Theresa Stefaniak and David Kaye’s Juliet and Romeo—a re-adjustment of the classic tale of tragic love as envisioned in a matriarchal, matrilineal society. THAT sounds really fun. (I'm kind of hoping to raise my 2-month-old daughter in a society with greater equality than the one I grew-up in and shows like this really need to enter the public consciousness more--there needs to be more of this type of dialogue in order for that to happen.) Juliet and Romeo is already quite specifically scheduled for next July. Dates have evidently not been set 1984.

A full review of Cannibal! The Musical runs in next week’s Shepherd-Express. The show runs through July 30th at the Alchemist Theatre. For reservations, visit the Alchemist online.

 

 

 

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