Mutton to it
Silence! The Musical
You can probably think of several movies that would make great stage musicals, but The Silence of the Lambs might not occur to you. In the current trend of turning horror films into campy musicals, a là Evil Dead: The Musical, comes Jon and Al Kaplan’s ode to the grisly horror film that forever changed how we think of fava beans and Chianti. Silence! The Musical makes its Northern Nevada premiere this month at Goodluck Macbeth, with a smorgasbord of your favorite lines from the film, set ridiculously to music.
Serial killer “Buffalo Bill” is on the loose, and the FBI needs help finding him. Fledgling FBI agent Clarice Starling (Annikki Larsson) is just the woman for the job. Hailing from West Virginia with an inability to pronounce the letter “S,” a bad brown wig and even worse pantsuit, she’s been charged with visiting Hannibal Lector (Ryan Kelly) in his Baltimore prison cell to pump him for information about the killer. Accompanied by a Greek chorus of dancers wearing lambs’ ears, Clarice tracks down Bill in his Ohio basement before he kills his next victim, Catherine Martin (Megan Fitzpatrick).
But while the story features all the plot points, gestures and characters’ lines you remember, the most memorable are made part of the show’s raunchy song list. I can’t tell you the names of the most outrageous songs. Just think of the most vulgar, nastiest lines from the movie you can remember. Yeah, now they’re song titles.
Other well-remembered lines are given new meaning through ironic twists. Take, for instance, Clarice’s meeting with Lector for the first time. She notices his art adorning the walls of his cell.
“All that detail just from memory, shir?” she asks him.
“Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have instead of a view,” he answers her, pointing to his childish drawings of rubber duckies and stick figure people.
Kelly makes a superb Lector with his slicked-back hair and booming voice, carrying off the show-stopping tune of the night, whose title I seriously can’t tell you.
Also owed kudos is Cody Canon, whom I’ve seen in numerous shows lately and am enjoying more with every appearance, as an eerily spot-on Buffalo Bill who bravely reveals a shocking amount of his … character, in the moment from the film we’ve all tried for years to erase from our minds. I tip my hat to you, sir.
Larsson’s ridiculous sendup of Jodie Foster is pretty brilliant early on, but the one-note performance (“Yes, shir,”) and ambiguous sexuality start feeling like a hammer to the head. As the two-hour show wore on, I definitely started to feel a bit of repetitive joke fatigue.
While the song lyrics are bitingly funny, the music is flat and predictable, and these performers are fine actors who aren’t, for the most part, great singers. (Kelly is by far the strongest singer.) Not that you come to a show like this for the singing, but in some cases the less-funny lines suffered further from off-key singing.
So yes, this parody is campy and silly, but if you have an appetite for razor-sharp comedy with just a dash of pre-Halloween horror, put this one on your October menu.