BWW Reviews: BECOMING BRITNEY Takes Comedic, Yet Honest Look at Pop Star's Life
Remember that guy whose YouTube video went viral after he recorded himself crying and yelling at people to just leave Britney alone!? Well I have to wonder what he would think of The Retro Dome's production of "Becoming Britney." They certainly don't leave Britney alone; They give Spears her own musical.
A parody in many ways, but containing enough serious moments to make it more than a spoof on Spears' life, "Becoming Britney" provides an hour and a half overview of Britney's life told through music, a little bit of lip syncing, and a recovery group consisting of figments of Britney's imagination, each with a different one of her character traits. Each of the actors plays out different people from Britney's life, including Justin Timberlake and Britney's mom. As Britney tells her story at rehab, the audience learns of the pressures of being a star and the difficulty of growing up with a mother who never let you leave the spotlight or eat that fried chicken that tasted so good.
The six actors (Molly Nell, Adam Theodore Barry, Leanne Borghesi, Danelle Mederos, Lizzie O'Hara and Keith Pinto) who pay these scenarios out have so much energy on top of power-house voices, it's impossible to single each out and talk about particular things each was good at. They share the stage throughout the show. Molly Bell, who plays Britney, needs extra mention here, and that's only because she co-wrote the musical.
I'm no expert on (or huge fan of) Britney - although I grew up during her higher moments of fame - so I can't comment on the accuracy Bell's script, but I can testify to the enjoyability of the show. While it does take a fairly positive take on Britney, the musical still includes a few dumb blond moments. So that guy on YouTube may not like the show. But anyone else can get a complete package of strong acting, high-energy songs, and impressive choreography. Fans of the pop star will enjoy the show. Those who grew up during her more popular years will have fun reminiscing. And those who really couldn't care less about Britney will get a lot of laughter and entertainment.
The story seems like a modern remake of "Gypsy" the musical. Most people will easily find something to relate to. The humor and music of the show have a feel similar to "Forbidden Broadway." The show even includes several references to musicals and movie, but they are blended with the rest of the script well enough for those who are not theater aficionados. For the rest, it'll be hard not to laugh at references in the script and music to shows like "Annie" and "Oklahoma."
The show has plenty of humor outside of the tributes to classic musicals, as well. Some of that humor comes from the fun and outrageous costuming (this is an adult show with revealing costumes and sexual innuendos, but the sexual mannerisms are extremely limited). Plenty of humor comes from the creative choreography, which matches the spirited music. And while the tunes aren't particularly memorable, the content of those tunes leaves an impression. It's one of those shows where you have to see it to understand and enjoy the music on it's own, but it's definitely worth seeing. I should know. I drove three hours to see it.
It's hard to leave Britney alone after such an unforgettable musical. We may not all be stars, and we may not all be dealing with the many pressures of being a celebrity, there's certainly an element of Britney - at least of the Britney in this show - in you and me, in all of us.
Now Through March 11
The Retro Dome