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Review: Stop the Music! Misguided Musicalized Movies light up THE REVUE, at Colony Theatre

Dooley + Troubies equals equals comic gold

Review: Stop the Music! Misguided Musicalized Movies light up THE REVUE, at Colony Theatre

Suppose you took a really good movie - or a crowd-pleaser - and you loaded it down with bad music. Or maybe not with atrocious music, but wrong-headed ditties. Or maybe you assigned the wrong composer for this particular cinematic genre.

What would be the result? Don't overstrain yourself seeking out a punchline. You'd have a bad show, a face palm, a "what the $%&Q!! were they thinking?!" You'd'd have something like THE REVUE.

THE REVUE is a parody. As conceived by book writer/composer/lyricist Jim Dooley, a man who can indeed write decent music, THE REVUE assembles a series of classic or well-known movies, imbruing each with a single musical number, each more ludicrous or cringe-worthy than the one that preceded it. Our framing device has a desperate theater director and producer who, faced with the shuttering of their playhouse, decide that one sure-fire hit will save them from ruin. Loaded down with a stack of film scripts, they brainstorm to figure which one might, if properly musicalized, unlock that blockbuster. A classic? A sequel? A flick with only a couple of characters? Maybe a movie that already had music with a new score by Lin Manuel Miranda?

The producer and director are played by Rick Batalla and Matt Walker (also the production's director) who southlanders will recognize as founders and longtime members of the Troubadour Theater Company. Since the company earned its zany cred by grafting pop songs onto the works of Shakespeare to great comic effect, REVUE (which contains a couple of company regulars) feels very much like a Troubie show. Certainly, the between-song bantering between Walker and Batalla is very much in the spirit and tone of how the company rolls, which is always a good thing.

Dooley's songs? They are awfully good or, if you prefer goodly awful. The lineup begins with a snippet of JURASSIC PARK: THE MUSICAL, told from the perspective of one of the T-Rexes. "Set me free," the piteous chain-wearing predator (played by Katie DeShan), sings. Oh, is it corny, and we are just getting started.

STAR WARS as scored by the Bee Gees; Chuck Noland, the Tom Hanks character of CAST AWAY serenading Wilson the volleyball; the Mayor of Amity Island in JAWS breaking out his best Meredith Willson-inspired huckster patter about how copacetic everything is in "Amity Means Friendship" while, behind him, the shark tosses dolls into its maw. Honest Abe and Mary Todd of LINCOLN getting all giddy as they prepare for date night of "Dinner and a Show" at Ford's Theatre, of course.

DeShan, Tiffany Daniels, Travis Leland and Isaac Robinson-Smith cycle through easily a dozen characters, wearing multiple outfits and hoofing it to Suzanne Jolie's choreography. A big thumbs up to costume designer Yuko Koresawa whose thrift store raid for Walker and Batalla along with the, er, low budget look for the movie scenes syncs with the tone of the piece. Pianist Ryan Whyman finesses his way through several genres of music. Bee Gees, Jim Steinman, Willson, Miranda...Dooley pens it and Whyman nails it.

Per the press notes, the show is supposedly constructed to allow different songs to be circulated in and out, even potentially accommodating audience suggestions. (We were not in any way part of the action at the performance I attended.) And before you bring the cinema-loving kids to REVUE's all too-brief engagement at the Colony Theatre, be forewarned that several of the numbers contain some ribald humor and seriously salty language. When you've got Maria vonTrapp in a workhouse, teaching the younger von Trapp's the use of a certain middle finger, well we're a few leagues from "Doe, a Deer." And the dominant lyric of the AVENUE Q sequel's song is unprintable. But you could find it as a title track of a number from Tom Kitt/and Brian Yorkey's IF/THEN (look it up!). (Hint: it rhymes with Gut the Truck.)

It's all in good send-up fun. Bad ideas make for decidedly good entertainment.

THE REVUE plays through March 27 at the Colony Theatre. Visit

Photo of Isaac Robinson-Smith, Kate DeShan and Tiffany Daniels as the vonTrapps In "The Continuing Sound of Music." Photo by Jim Dooley

From This Author - Evan Henerson

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