BWW Reviews: Skip the Haunted House- Come Howl at Shadowbox Live's 'Full Moon'
Shadowbox Live is back with a new sketch/comedy, rock and roll production in its classic format, themed this time in a ghoulishly delightful Halloween show called 'Full Moon". I'm not sure when any of Shadowbox's performers eat or sleep, as they currently have four shows running simultaneously- the Stage 2 production of 'Vampires", the so-good-you-must-see-it-now musical "Chicago", the "Freaky Fall" Lunchbox show, and now, "Full Moon", in addition to their full-time jobs in production and their nightly duties as house staff. Three weeks into the performance however, and audience demand for the intensely talented ensemble is as high as ever with the Friday evening performance I attended at near sold-out capacity.
"Full Moon" is a masterful blend of classic Shadowbox comedy and musical genius with spoofs on current events and a funky fall flair. In a new twist to this show, WCMH-TV meteorologist and local celebrity in his own right, Jym Ganahl anchors the show from video clips depicting Shadowbox's spoof on the upcoming presidential election, as the political campaigns of the Good Witch of the East, Glinda (Anita McFarren) and the Wicked Witch of the West (Julie Klein) attempt to win their own election for Wizard of Oz. These two banter throughout the show with slanderous political ads and timely comedic bits- "47% of you don't deserve your wishes granted, anyway!"- trying to gain the audiences votes, with Ganahl being a comical new addition.
While all of the skits are entertaining, particularly funny are Robbie Nance's take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on a double date with two unsuspecting girls, and Jimmy Mak's "On Hold" skit comparing the customer service queue to the depths of the netherworld. Also amusing are Billy DePetro as the werewolf that follows Transylvanian kid Jimmy Mak home in "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf", and "Nightmare Inc." where parents played by Tom Cardinal and Mary Randle hire a professional company to scare the pants-literally- off of their lying teenage son played by Jamie Barrow.
Musically, the evening is filled with delightful renditions of creepy classics, such as a hauntingly beautiful version of Tori Amos' "These Precious Things" by Jennifer Hahn on keyboard and vocals, and a wickedly good performance of Heart's "Crazy on You" by Noelle Grandison. Another musical number that stands out is a twisted interpretation of Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage" with Tom Cardinal on lead vocals as the mad scientist in an insane asylum- so freaky and creepy that I couldn't look away.
Two of the best two numbers of the evening come at the end of the show- a hysterically funny spoof on the "Twilight" movie series love triangle gone awry in "Monster Dance", complete with appearances by "Edward", "Jacob", "Bella", and wait...zombie Michael Jackson and Count Chocula. This skit is comedic genius and one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the evening. Musically, the last number of the evening, the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", with an amazing David Whitehouse on fiddle was standing ovation brilliant.
While taking its wildly popular self-written skit/ high energy rock song format on a romp through "monsters, madness, and mayhem", this 2 hour-long show is a little less edgy than the usual Shadowbox, with just enough grit to be a funky and fun way to spend a night out with some great fall entertainment. Skip the haunted house this season and come howl at Shadowbox Live's "Full Moon" running select Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and 10:30pm, now through November 17th. Go to http://www.shadowboxlive.org/ for additional information and reservations.
PHOTO CREDIT: Studio 66