BWW Review: SILENCE! THE MUSICAL is an Outrageously Funny Musical Parody
SILENCE! THE MUSICAL is a 2005 musical created by Jon and Al Kaplan and Hunter Bell as a parody of the 1991 Academy Award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. The project began in 2003 as an internet musical made up of nine songs that retold the entire story. The audio tracks became so popular that a stage production was conceived and mounted. The show has received awards and accolades including Outstanding Musical (New York International Fringe Festival), Best New Musical (Off Broadway Alliance), and Top Ten Plays and Musicals (Time Magazine). This production from Doctuh Mistuh Productions is a remount of their 2014 B. Iden Payne award winning Best Musical production. It also won B. Iden Payne Awards for Best Actress and Best Director
As in the original film, rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Amy Downing) matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Huck Huckaby) in order to catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (David Ponton). Clarice faces her own demons while trying to unlock Lecter's clues before another innocent girl, hapless Catherine Martin (Libby Detling), is killed and skinned by Buffalo Bill. However, what this has that the original didn't have is a singing chorus of tap dancing lambs and a ballet by Dream Clarice (Kathryn Lane) and Dream Hannibal (Brian DeFillipo)... not to mention some of the raunchiest, funniest musical numbers ever sung on any stage based on iconic lines from the film. The end result is an outrageously funny send up of both the original film and the musical genre itself.
Director Michael McKelvey has staged this tongue fully in cheek to marvelous effect. Some of the laughs actually catch you off guard even if you're familiar with the source film. (It also contains the most uproariously inappropriate use of silly string ever.) The whole piece has a manic and frenetic energy that is just right. Madison Piner has created some very funny dances here... especially the dance sequence between Dream Clarice and Dream Hannibal that is like the dream ballet in Oklahoma on Viagra. Glenda Barnes costumes effectively pay homage to the film.
There are some standout performances here, starting with Amy Downing, who, as Clarice, absolutely nails Jodie Foster's acting tics and accent. It is a side-splitting deadpan performance that clearly shows you why she won the Best Actress award back in 2014. Huck Huckaby is a perfect Hannibal and his scenes with Downing are a joy to watch. David Ponton, gives a delightfully deranged performance as Buffalo Bill. I don't want to spoil the surprises here, but I could hardly breathe from laughing so hard at his number that opens the second act. Libby Detling knocks her number "My Daughter is Catherine" out of the park by vocally blowing the roof off. I was also impressed by Andrew Cannata in a variety of small parts with some killer bits of business.
SILENCE! THE MUSICAL doesn't have any deep message. But it does present a rare opportunity to just go laugh your head off and forget about the world outside. If you need a good laugh, this show is right up your alley.
Running time: Approximately Two Hours, including intermission. This production contains adult themes and language.
SILENCE! THE MUSICAL, produced by Doctuh Mistuh Productions at Austin Playhouse (6001 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752.) Aug. 18 - Sept. 4, 2016.
Show times are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. There will be an added performance on Wednesday, Aug. 31st at 7:30 pm. Please be aware that only the South entrance to Highland is available to patrons. Please plan accordingly.
Brown Paper Tickets, http://www.brownpapertickets.com,