BWW Reviews: OLYMPUS ON MY MIND Delights Richmond
Virginia Repertory Theatre's third iteration of OLYMPUS ON MY MIND musters belly laughs and proves that enjoyable musical theatre doesn't have to be elaborate. From the uncomplicated choreography and costumes to the unpretentious lighting and set design, the technical elements of the production are scaled down to allow the humor to really stick in this fast-footed farce.
With book and lyrics by Barry Harman and music by Grant Sturiale, the show recounts the legend of Greek god Jupiter and his visit to earth for an absurd 17-hour conquest with Princess Alcmene. In the disguise of Amphitryon, the princess' husband, Jupiter finds success and a handful of human emotions along the way.
Keeping up with appearances is part of the shtick; the audience is apprised of the different roles on stage, but none of the characters on stage seem to be aware of who is who. Jupiter is disguised as Amphitryon, and his son Mercury is disguised as Sosia, Amphitryon's slave.
Director and Choreographer K Strong ably navigates the pacing of the actors' performances, which at times show weakness. A boyish Arden Moscati beautifully sings the part of Mercury, but is eclipsed in his acting abilities by a seasoned Richard Travis as Jupiter. The pair is at their best during "Love-What a Concept," which shows off the perfect complements of Moscati's tenor and Travis' baritone voice to the credit of Music Director Jason Marks.
Pleasantly interrupting the story on numerous occasions are the less than zippy chorus-Tom, Dick and Horace and their ungraceful and unabashed counterpart, Delores. The talented Maggie Roop as the ditzy and inept chorus girl jumps right into the spotlight during the opening, "Welcome to Greece," successfully pushing the trio of men into the background whenever she is present.
With ridiculous makeup, Mary Anne Furey mostly succeeds as the awkward and sex-starved Charis, and delivers many a laugh, but her unrelenting energy is distracting at times. She has a brief moment during "At Liberty in Thebes," but is outshined by Dan Cimo, Tyler Wilson and Paul Major as the chorus without Delores.
Bringing some much needed energy as the actual Sosia; Scott Wichmann effortlessly sinks his teeth into Chase Kniffen's well-chosen scenery and never lets up, masterfully displaying a plethora of animated facial and bodily expressions and distinct voices within his repertoire.
It's not a perfect show, but it's a fun show.
OLYMPUS ON MY MIND runs through March 16 at Hanover Tavern.
Photo Credit: Jay Paul