Theatre Mirror Reviews "All Shook Up"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


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entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"All Shook Up"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at Company Theatre by their Teen Academy is "All Shook Up". This show is a musical comedy written by Joe DiPietro that was inspired by and features songs of Elvis Presley. The show tells the romantic tale of how a young girl's dream comes true when a guitar-playing roustabout rides into a square state in 1955 on his motorcycle and turns the town upside down with his hip-swiveling, lip-curling and sexy song singing. The show features 24 Elvis classic hit songs including "Heartbreak Hotel", "Jailhouse Rock", "Blue Suede Shoes", "It's Now or Never" and "Don't Be Cruel". The mayor of the town, Matilda Hyde, has banned necking and having fun because it is a sin. When sexy Chad rides into town, he brings the town back to life. He pursues the town sexpot, Miss Sandra who can't stand him while sweet grease monkey, Natalie pines for him. Nerdy Dennis is secretly in love with Natalie while her father lusts after Miss Sandra, Sylvia is secretly in love with Natalie's father. Sylvia's daughter, Lorraine falls in love with the Mayor's son, Dean while the hen pecked sheriff, Earl is secretly in love with the Mayor. The songs of Elvis are woven into the story line about love finding rock and roll. This energetic musical is directed by Jordie Saucerman with musical direction by Michael Joseph and topnotch choreography by Sally Ashton Forrest. This marvelous high energy show is rewarded with a standing ovation at curtain call.

Jordie's brilliant direction brings out the best in these youngsters. Michael brings out the best in their vocals with harmonic blends and tempos of the numbers especially "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "All Shook Up" while he conducts his 12 piece orchestra. Sally works her magic on these kids with terrific choreography including the twist, and other fifties style dances. The group numbers are splendid and beautifully performed by this talented cast. The gorgeous two story set with a juke box and the 1950's costumes are by James Valentin. This huge cast is lead by Nick Cox in this demanding role of Chad. I last reviewed him as Link Larkin last summer in "Hairspray". He can act, sing and dance up a storm, swiveling his hips and curly his lips as a perfect embodiment of Elvis. Nick sells his many songs perfectly including "Jailhouse Rock", with a rousing dance by the cast, "Roustabout", "C'mon Everybody" where he restarts the jukebox to bring life back into the town,"Follow That Dream" and "Love Me Tender" with Natalie and "All Shook Up" with the company and the finale "Burning Love" with Natalie and the whole cast. "If I Can Dream" is a poignant song, Chad does when he realizes he loves Natalie. Nick is a very talented teen who will go far in show business with his incredible talent.

His leading lady in this show is played by Colie Smigliani. She plays auto mechanic, Natalie who is always dressed in work clothes except when she wants to impress Chad, she wears a dress with a big grease stain on it. Finally her best friend, Lorraine gives her a lovely feminine outfit to wear. Natalie disguises herself as Ed so she can spend hang out with Chad more often. However due to mistaken identity ala "Twelfth Night", Miss Sandra falls in love with Ed. Colie does a fantastic job as the girl dressed as a boy but really is a girl role. She shows off her lovely soprano voice in "One Night With You" when she falls in love with Chad, "Love Me Tender and"Follow That Dream" lovely ballads with Chad, "A Little Less Conversation" and ''Fools Fall in Love" when Natalie thinks she has lost Chad forever. The last song brings the audience to tears with its poignancy and her soulful rendition of it. Peter Salhaney plays the nerdy, horn-rimmed glasses wearing Dennis who is madly in love with Natalie. He is terrific in this role and displays his powerful singing voice in many group numbers as well as in "C'mon Everybody" and "Teddy Bear/Hound Dog" but shows off his strong tenor range in his solo number, "It Hurts Me''. His acting and dancing are topnotch, too as he tugs at the heartstrings of the audience as this likeable underdog who can recite Shakespearean sonnets. The sexy blonde vamp, Miss Sandra is beautifully played by MacKenzie Hawe. She oozes sex appeal and shows off her strong soprano voice in "Hound Dog" when she kicks Chad to the curb. MacKenzie also delivers a powerful rendition to "Let Yourself Go" and "The Power of My Love" with Chad and Natalie's father, Jim. She is the museum curator who loves being wooed by a man who spouts Shakespeare.

Nathan Pacheco is hilarious as Natalie's father. He is desperate to have Miss Sandra fall in love with him. He dresses up in a leather jacket and blue suede shoes and takes lessons from Chad in how to swivel his hips. Nathan shows off his voice in many songs including "Can't Help Falling in Love with You". However the gal of his dreams has been under his nose for many years. It's Sylvia who has a hard nose exterior but is a marshmallow underneath. Rachel Wallace is dynamite in this role and so is her voice which soars in "Heartbreak Hotel" with the barflies, the duet "That's All Right" and in the tear jerking, "There's Always Me", a solo jazz number which tugs at your heartstrings. Sylvia's feisty high spirited daughter, Lorraine is excellently played by pretty red head, Kendra Cameron who also has a dynamic voice which she uses in the duet "That's All Right" and in the tender love song "It's Now or Never" with Nick McNeil who plays Dean, the mayor's son. He wears a military uniform, is tall, dark and handsome, making Lorraine swoon when she first meets him. Nick does a great job in this comic role that becomes more romantic as the show goes on and shows off his strong singing voice in "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" with Kendra and the chorus as well as "If I Can Dream" with Nick Cox and Kendra. The loud mouth, domineering Matilda, the mayor is wonderfully played by Korleen Sheridan. She is a whirling dervish as she commands her constituents to obey her every whim. Korleen's solo is "Devil in Disguise" which is about Chad being an evil influence on the town. The mayor is finally put in her place by her hen-pecked sheriff, Earl who has been in love with her for fifteen years. Earl is played by Jules Tanner who becomes the mouse who roars finally bringing rock and roll back into town. So for a trip back to 1955, be sure to catch "All Shook Up" where this high energy show will leave you dancing in the aisles. Tell them Tony sent you. Kudos to the whole cast a job extremely well done.

"All Shook Up" (20 - 22 January)
@ 30 Accord Park Drive, NORWELL MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide