BWW Review: The Freaks Amaze at SIDE SHOW at The Weekend Theater
The talent at the Weekend Theater will blow you away at their production of SIDE SHOW (2014 Broadway Revival). Running through October 27, you do not want to miss this.
Unfamiliar to this musical or this venue, I had no idea what to expect. The Weekend Theater is solely made of volunteers who have day jobs and spend their weekends entwining tales that educate on a social level. SIDE SHOW is one of those tales.
Written by Bill Russell, music by Henry Kreiger, and additional book material by Bill Condon, this musical is set in the 1930s when vaudeville and touring sideshows were the form of entertainment. The story follows the life of Daisy (Erin Martinez Warner) and Violet (Sarah Marie Haman) Hilton, conjoined twins who toured the US singing and dancing. The story touches on how "God's mistakes" are different, but still want life's passions just "like everyone else." Also, the story points out that some freaks are easier to hide their issues better than others.
This cast is ah-maz-ing! The singing was superb-so beautiful! The live band (extra points for that), directed by Music Director Leslie Harper, carried the show fabulously with some playing multiple instruments. However, I want to spotlight the details that the performers added. When the venue is this intimate, there is no room for mistakes-there is nowhere to hide. This cast embraced their characters to the point that every single one of them were a joy to watch.
For example, at the beginning I didn't know I was going to be so up close and personal on the second row. During the introduction of the characters, it really felt like it was a true sideshow experience. The lizard man (Walter Dodd), who was very much in character, and I almost had a stare down contest. I definitely lost that one. So mesmerizing, I had to turn away to see what else was going on. Another touching moment I noticed was when Violet agreed to marry Buddy Foster (Zachary Hickman), everyone involved made slight responses that added so much depth to the scene-Daisy yearningly wanted to reach out to her love interest Terry Conner (Josh Strickland) but didn't, and the other male dancer (J. Tyler Lewis) looked like his heart was breaking at the news. The details is what really grabs you in this production.
Directed by Duane Jackson, he doubled as a very dislikeable Sir. Co-Producer Roben R. Sullivant made me laugh out loud during her death scene, and Chris Watkins as Jake really brought out the feels as he dealt with issues being "his kind."
For more information on this show, visit their website at http://weekendtheater.org/, or check out their Facebook page. There is limited seating, so reserving online is advised. Do not pass up your chance to "Come look at the freaks!"