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BWW Reviews: ALL SHOOK UP at The Fireside

David Sajewich as Chad (Left) and Katie Postotnik as Natalie (right).
Photo provided by: Fireside Theatre

Loosely based on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and paired with some of Elvis Presley's most beloved music is a feel good show worth dancing to. All Shook Up has shimmied its way to the Fireside's stage and immersed its audiences in an atmosphere of intoxicating nostalgia.

The nod to Elvis comes both from the music as well as the character of Chad, a roustabout with a song in his heart and love for the ladies who swoon over him. When Chad comes upon a conservative, Midwestern town, he rekindles their fondness for rock-n-roll. His arrival follows shortly after Matilda the mayor outlaws loud music as well as dancing (much like Footloose, minus the tragic backstory). The women of this small town fall all over themselves for this stranger in a sharp leather jacket - none more so than Natalie the mechanic's daughter. In a whirlwind of boot tapping music and romance, the characters "Can't Help Falling In Love".

Starring as Chad is the charming David Sajewich, who was last seen in the much darker musical Evil Dead in Madison last fall. With 1950's dance skills in tow, Sajewich is the rough-and -tumble roustabout that Elvis fans can fawn over. Vocally, however, Sajewich's technical purity can hurt the performance. Chad's music in this show does not need the purity that Sajewich can masterfully provide - it needs gusto. "Teddy Bear", for example, needs more of a rock-n-roll edge than it had on Thursday evening. Sajewich has, undoubtedly, terrific musical ability. Chad's music just needs more variety.

On the other end of the spectrum, Bianca Horn is a dream as Sylvia. Her range is astounding while each of her showcase songs sound almost completely different from one another. Horn throws every ounce of her soulful sound into her character which has her audiences mesmerized. With no shortness of spunk, Horn makes Sylvia the firecracker that she ought to be.

Per usual, the slew of performers assembled by director Ed Flesch has no shortage of talent. Katie Postotnik plays the lovable Natalie - with a notable sense of comedic timing as well as musical power. Fireside veteran Michael Haws is Natalie's father Jim. Haws consistently draws out new qualities of his performance to make each of his many characters through his time at Fireside unique from one another. Daryn Harrell as Sylvia's daughter Lorraine is the perfect companion to Horn's feisty attitude. Harrell brings an intense quietude to her role which compliments both Lorraine's age in the show as well as her naiveté to the world around her.

All Shook Up is a high-energy show filled to the brim with familiar tunes and a fun time for all. This quirky production is well suited to Flesch's direction - and perfect for Fireside's quaint stage space. This 50's flashback is bound to continue to be a "jiggly wiggly" good time.

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From This Author Amanda Finn

Amanda lives in Madison, WI and joined BWW in the spring of 2014. She has relished every moment spent in a theatre since then. She (read more...)