Review: BEETLEJUICE at Golden Gate Theatre

Drop-dead funny!

By: Dec. 19, 2022
Review: BEETLEJUICE at Golden Gate Theatre
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Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, beat a path to San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre for a night of frighteningly funny laughs about death. As someone who has never seen the original film version by master of macabre, Tim Burton, I wasn't sure what to expect. But it quickly became clear that just like the movie, this show has a devoted cult following.

This cheering and adoring audience (there's nothing better than a San Francisco audience) took no notice of the very thin plot and inconsistencies in the story, and instead focused on the over-the-top, high energy slapstick comedy stylings of the hilarious Justin Collette as the millennia-old demon "Beetlejuice." With clever songs by Eddie Perfect and a book by Scott Brown & Anthony King, this is one show you should be dying to see (ba-dum tsh).

Even though death and the Netherworld hold court throughout, you find yourself drawn in by the "make 'em laugh" by any means energy of the show. We meet Beetlejuice at the funeral of Emily Deetz who is being mourned by her goth teenage daughter, Lydia (Isabella Esler is fantastic). and her not-so-mourning dad, Charles (Jesse Sharp). Lydia's despondency has led him to get his daughter a life coach named Delia (hilariously played by Kate Marilley) who also happens to be his new girlfriend.

Soon, Beetlejuice introduces us to Barbara and Adam Maitland (wonderfully played by Britney Coleman and Will Burton) a young couple who are about to die in their home and boom, they're gone. As luck would have it, Charles, who is a real estate developer, buys the house and moves in with Lydia in tow. But the recently dead Maitlands are not ready to give up their home to livings and Beetlejuice suggests they haunt the new homeowners out. Hijinks ensue!

It's as if director Alex Timbers told his creative team to let their imaginations run wild with Beetlejuice and wow, do they have fun. David Korins' set is ghoulishly fantastical and works hand-in-glove with Peter Nigrini's projections and the great Kenneth Posner's dazzling light design. Charles LaPointe must have had a blast creating the iconic upward do for Beetlejuice while Jeremy Chernick and Michael Weber provide an extravaganza of special effects and illusions.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's show time! Go see Beetlejuice. It's a laugh riot that will knock you dead from start to finish.