Presented by Arts After Hours
Music and lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan
Book by Hunter Bell
Directed by James Tallach
Music directed by Tim Lawton
Choreographed by Nicole Spirito
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Lynn, MA) If there is a Hell, and I’m not sure if there is, then sitting through this musical may assure there’s have a seat saved for you. It is deeply offensive, crass, disrespectful, tacky and trashy. Equally dubious Heavens forgive me, I loved every minute of this explosive diarrhea of a shit show. We laughed our asses off.
Silence! is a parody musical based on the movie, based on the novel The Silence of the Lambs. One doesn’t need to have seen the movie to understand the musical. It’s probably better if you don’t. A summary of the source material is here. To note: Jodie Foster has Daddy issues; Hannibal is a horny cannibal with a perverted moral code; It puts the lotion on the skin and it gets the hose.
If you have seen the movie. If you perhaps hold that movie in your mind as a paragon of filmatic genius, or even if you just really like it, maybe you should sit this one out. Creators Kaplans and Bell, and production staff Tallach, Lawson and Spirito hold nothing sacred. Like the bastard child it is, Silence resembles the original but its authenticity is dubious. No really, they tear this mother up.
The cast gives us a fun show. They are fully cognizant of the jokes and our appreciation. The night we attended the audience expressed their joviality via shoutouts to the cast, hooting and hollering. It got loud in the theatre. When the only social value of a show resides in the laughs, you better hope it gets loud.
To reiterate, this show lacks discretion or class. There’s mimed masturbation on stage; the script calls for cussing that would shame any sailor. For all this debauchery, the stagecraft of the cast remains firm. For example, actor boundaries were recognized even if character boundaries were ignored. Clarice (Lisa McDonough) gets man and woman-handled by almost every actor on stage. McDonough was a good sport through it all. Clarice was uncomfortable. McDonough was just fine. Aside from the two walkouts who were shocked (shocked, I say!) that this musical was so perverted, the rest of us took cues from the cast regarding comfort levels.
Chas Kircher’s Hannibal was strangely charismatic. It was super weird for the monster to be alluring at all. Like super duper, “challenging my life choices” weird. His rendition of “If I Could Smell Her Cunt” was… Well, we got the metaphor.
Jeremiah O’Sullivan was upstaged by his merkin. He does fine as Buffalo Bill but I couldn’t stop thinking about that damn wig. Congrats Bonnie Fitzgerald, my nightmares took a turn for the hirsute.
Silence! The Musical is not for children or the easily offended. It’s like a production of Cannibal the Musical as adapted by John Waters at his most sexually explicit. There are 4th wall breaks, oodles of puns, massively cheap effects, and offences aplenty. It’s not all weird. There are diamonds in the muff: the choreo occasionally meets the music at a staging sweet spot that reveals the structure behind the mess. The lambs, because of course there are actual lambs played by the ensemble, have good comedic timing. They treat their role with the severity it deserves: none.