BWW Review: XANADU Hysterically Cruises from California to Lakeway TX
Bringing the muses off mount Olympus to beachside California, XANADU is as wacky as its namesake would suggest. Following their mystical purpose, the greek muses find a struggling artist to inspire and guide on their journey to creation. Muse Clio (played by Mandy Foster) discovers bright-eyed Sonny (played by Daniel Drewes) and decides to transform herself into a skating Australian beauty name Kira, to help light his way. With the muse and artist in tow, they set out to create a roller-disco. With their vision blocked by the fantasy of rollerskates and sequins, fellow muses Melpomene (played by Megan Richards Wright) and Calliope (played by Amy Nichols) hatch a plan to thwart their sister Clio from falling in love with Sonny. This poses a serious problem for Clio, as her Father Zeus forbids muses to love or create art themselves. Navigating their attraction and the giant task of procuring and opening a roller disco, Kira and Sonny continue their plight challenging landlord Danny Maguire (played by Huck Huckaby) to grant them a space for their dancing dreams.
With such a far-out, ridiculous premise, this shows formula has two options - either the show will be atrocious or brilliant. Lucky for the patrons in Lakeway, it achieves the latter. Introducing the audience to such a heightened type of farce can be challenging, and by the second song, the audience was riding the merry-go-round. Performer Mandy Foster at the helm of the show as muse Clio, accomplished the difficult feat of performing almost exclusively on skates. Foster's singing and comedic timing are charming and play very well with Daniel Drewes' interpretation of Sonny. Drewes, a clearly seasoned performer, stuck his landings. Although there were acrobatics in this show, the term landing in this case refers to his superb playful timing with his character Sonny. Punching his funny lines and bringing the house down with his singing chops, Drewes showed he has it all. Examining the envious "Iagos" of XANADU, the chemistry and waggish humor delivered by the evil sister pair Melpomene (Megan Richards Wright) and Calliope (Amy Nichols) was a hilarious violation of the fourth wall. Often delivering plot-driving, sinister soliloquies harkening the story telling of the bard himself, this duo is a clear audience favorite. Acting as the main artery for the audiences direct connection to the show, their timing of dumb and evil, was hilarious.
The amalgam of artistic elements that make a great show, come together in this performance of XANADU. The truth is, all nine performers in this ensemble bring their A game. Choreographer Kimberly Schafer, along with Director Jarret Mallon, highlight the individual talents of each ensemble member. Utilizing the performers skills and timing to create the heart of the show, the devil is in the marriage of all the comedic details. A great example of this formula brought to life, is performed by Jonathan A. Contreras as Cyclopes - literal tears in my eyes from laughter. However, I won't ruin it for you - go laugh and cry, but mostly laugh in Lakeway to TexARTS home-run musical comedy XANADU.
Book By: Douglas Carter
Music & Lyrics By: Jeff Lynn & John Farrar
Directed By: Jarret Mallon
2300 Lohman's Spur
Lakeway, Tx 78734
February 15th - March 3rd, 2019
Thurs - Sat 7:30PM,
February 27th, 2019
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