Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
The opening is a hoot, featuring a six-member chorus line with floppy-eared lamb head gear singing "This is the silence of the lambs/You may have nightmares when you're through/And if you leave here feeling hollow/It scared the shit right of you."
Hunter Bell's script is surprisingly well-crafted and faithful to the movie, which starred Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. The plot, in case you don't know it, is about greenhorn FBI agent Clarice Starling (Anne Norland) matching wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Scott Hayes) in order to catch the skin-grafting serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Brian Watson).
Director Jason Hoover has assembled a 10-member cast of talented camp actors, all of whom nail the impersonations of the movie characters. Scott Hayes and Anne Norland as Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling give excellent performances with pitch perfect vocal cords. Norland adorably deadpans as the novice FBI agent with a speech impediment and a West Virginia accent, spoofing Jodie Foster's enunciation in the film. Scott Hayes has the cool demeanor of the flesh-eater who savors his meals with fava beans.
The serial killer who makes dresses out of human skin, Buffalo Bill, is played Brian Watson and he marvelously over camps the role, maybe on the fey side a little too much. He gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin, strikingly played by Hayley Lovgren. Brendon North as Clarice's boss gives an excellent performance and he has damn good vocal cords when singing his numbers. Angel Adedokun, Matt Hammons, Kevin Singer, Audrey Baker and Ryan Vasquez are all in the lamb chorus and play various roles with terrific vocal cords.
Jason Hoover directs this musical with a fast pace, and he lets the actors go over the top, particularly the chorus of "lambs." The energy-driven choreography by Alex Rodriquez is hysterical.
Bottom line: Beware if you take your old maiden aunt who finds The Pajama Game too shockingthis is not for her. The New York Times said it best: "[It] makes those naughty ditties in The Book of Mormon seem like trunk songs dropped from The Sound of Music."
Silence! The Musical has been extended through March 18th, 2017, at the Victoria Theatre, 16th Street off Van Ness Ave, San Francisco. Tickets can be obtained at the Victoria box office one hour before performance on Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at 7pm and 10pm or online at www.silencethemusicalsf.com.