BWW Review: Can Can's THIS IS HALLOWEEN Gives a Bawdy Take on a Beloved Spooky Classic
I know I could get lynched for stating this out loud, but I was never that much of a fan of the original film "The Nightmare Before Christmas". I appreciate the cute story and the animation but being a musical theater snob, the songs in it just don't do it for me. But now, after seeing Can Can's burlesque reimagining of this much beloved film, "This is Halloween" now in its ninth year, I realize what it's been missing all this time. Naked people.
The folks at Can Can have brought in most of Tim Burton's tale. The Pumpkin King and ruler over Halloween Town, Jack Skellington (the charismatic Tim Keller) has become bored with his lot in life and so he and his ghost dog Zero (the oh so energetic and limber beyond belief Nik Hagen) venture beyond the boundaries of Halloween Town and end up in Christmas Town where Jack finds a whole new world. Deciding he could bring back the spirit of this wonderful holiday to his land he adopts the guise of Sandy Claws (what he thinks Santa Clause is called) and co-opts Christmas for himself. But he threatens to derail Christmas when the evil Oogie Boogie kidnaps Santa with the help of his minions, Lock, Shock, and Barrel, and Jack's interpretation of Christmas sends the world reeling.
It's the story and songs you know with music provided by a 10-piece orchestra lead by Sari Breznau who also handles many of the vocals for the denizens of Halloween town along with Dave Crellin and Armitage Shanks. The only characters really doing their own singing are Keller and the sultry innocence of Quinn Vaira as Sally, Jacks long suffering girlfriend as the rest of the cast are too busy dancing around in their underwear ... or less.
The choreography is fantastic as Jack, Sally, and Zero frolic around with other monsters like a thoroughly hunky Werewolf, a sexy, spooky clown, and of course Oogie Boogie and his minions plus a sultry Santa and her sexy reindeer. And lest you wonder how the blob-like Oogie Bogie can be sexy, well ensemble member Joel Domenico handles his moves quite well from within his huge suit and the final unveiling where we get a peek inside the monster to see the hunk within is ... well ... DAMN! But then every member of the show is DAMN as when you have people who can manage the dance these people can, you tend to end up with very pretty, tight, muscular folks. And they're more than willing to show those bodies off (wouldn't you if you had that?) and so kudos to the rest of the ensemble as well, Marissa Quimby, Thomas Phelan, Genna Carey, and Paris Original.
And those costumes, yes, they are skimpy and quite revealing, but what's there are perfect representations of the images from the film. So, from tops to bottoms this is quite a fun show. If I had one complaint it would be that some of the lyrics get overpowered by the band but if you're already a fan of the film then you probably know the lyrics and if not, well, naked people. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Can Can's production of "This is Halloween" a grinning and titillated YAY. Maybe this is what all shows need now. Naked people. Naked "Oklahoma" maybe? How about naked "Hairspray"? Or naked "Annie"? Oh wait, let's forget about that last one.
"This is Halloween" from Can Can performs at the Triple Door through October 31st. For tickets or information visit them online at www.thecancan.com.