Regional Reviews: Phoenix - Silence! The Musical

Monday, May 7, 2018


The five-time Oscar winning 1991 film Silence of the Lambs, which focuses on an FBI agent who enlists the help of one serial killer in order to stop another, is one of the creepiest movies ever made while the 2005 musical parody of the film, Silence! The Musical, plays the entire show for laughs. Stray Cat Theatre presents the local premiere of this show is still 90 minutes of silly fun with numerous laugh out loud moments and a cast who throw themselves into recreating these iconic cinema characters.

...the enthusiastic Stray Cat cast, under Louis Farber's fairly inspired direction, throw themselves into their roles, which helps bring plenty of hijinks, tomfoolery, and a big dose of malarkey to the production. As Clarice, Brandi Bigley has the accent, determination, and fierce dedication that Jodie Foster brought to her Oscar-winning film portrayal down to a T. Scott Schmelder is superb as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and incorporates the same speech pattern and accent that Anthony Hopkins used for his Academy Award winning performance. Both have wonderful singing voices and Schmelder adds a nice amount of creepiness and unease to Lecter.

With a bravura performance that borders on sheer insanity, David Chorley is a comic gem as Buffalo Bill. As the senator, Cassie Chilton's performance of "My Daughter Is Catherine," in which she repeats her daughter's name over and over again, is a huge crowd favorite, and Vinny Chavez, Hector Coris, Ayanna Le Andre and Devon Mahon round out the supporting cast with each of them getting a character or two to show off their comic chops. They also all make an incredibly cute chorus of Lambs. Ballet dancers Priscilla Campa and Nicholas McEntire add a moment of comic delight as the dream ballet Clarice and Hannibal.

Director Farber manages to get good comic performances from the cast and keeps the show moving along at a fairly fast clip...Musical director Alicia Ferrin does well with the small band and choreographer Nicole Olson adds several hilarious steps, including sheep-inspired movement for the ensemble and a fun tango for Clarice and Hannibal for "Quid Pro Quo." Aaron Sheckler's static two-story set incorporates several small set pieces and great photo projections and media design from Dallas Robert Nichols (who also supplied the spooky and effective lighting design) to quickly establish the many locales in the show. of the film will most likely find much to laugh at and enjoy. Plus, the Stray Cat cast add plenty of inspired insanity to the mix. For anyone who hasn't seen the film I'd suggest watching it first in order to be able to appreciate some of the show's more inspired moments.