Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Side Show"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Larry Stark


"Side Show"

Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell
Music by Henry Krieger
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Musical Direction by Jonathan Goldberg
Choreography by David Connolly

Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland
Lighting Design by Scott Pinkney
Costume Design by Gail Astrid Buckley
Assistant Stage Manager Geoffrey Savage
Production Stage Manager Jason Rossman

Geek..........................Scott Albert
Snake Lady....................Trish Aponte
Dolly Dimples....................Dana Bell
Buddy Foster................Peter A. Carey
Terry Conne...............Christopher Chew
Roustabout.....................David Costa
Roustabout...................Evan Crothers
The Boss..........,......Steven Dascoulias
Fortune Teller.............Caroline DeLima
Reptile Man..................Ben Gettinger
Roustabout..................Kevin M. Kline
Violet Hilton.................Susan Molloy
Fakir.......................Gary Thomas Ng
Bearded Lady................Ellen Peterson
Jake.....................Brian R. Rpbinson
Harem Girl................Kristen Sargeant
Daisy Hilton................Maryann Zschau
MUSICIANS:
Keyboard...Jonathan Goldberg/Chris Roppola
Reeds...............Louis Toth/Ray Taranto
Trumpet............Chris Hawes or Tim Cote
Trombone................Stefan Demetriades
Bass.......Robb Simring or John Stycklunas
Percussion.....................Kevin Burke

The real key to "Side Show" is the character Jake --- "The Cannibal King" at the start of the show --- played by Brian R. Robinson. Late in the play, he says what has been obvious in subtext throughout the play: "Violet, no one can love you the way I do. marry me!" to which she responds "I couldn't marry you! What would people think!" --- because it's the 1930's and Jake is Black. The irony of course is that the woman Jake loves is permanently joined to her "Siamese" sister. She (Susan Molloy) and Daisy (Maryann Zschau) start as uneducated "freaks" gratefully owned by their boss (Steven Dascoulias), but as their dozen fellow "exhibits" prove with a dizzying series of changes of Gail Astrid Buckley's costumes, the distinction between "freak" and "person" depends on who is doing the looking, and when.

The first act of "Side Show" outlines the real life of The Hilton Sisters --- a picture of these "conjoined twins" (in bathing-suits) is in the Lyric Stage lobby --- from their cozy "family" of misfits to a hilarious Egyptian vaudeville turn. (Designer Janie E. Howland, Costumer Buckley, Choreographer David Connolly and the entire cast had a ball creating this one!) The sisters' discoverer (Peter A. Carey) and publicist (Christopher Chew) both wrestle with affection turning to love in fits and starts of subtext and confession here, and it's fun watching Zschau and Molloy pretend to be diamonds in the rough learning to be their beautiful selves. In act two (beginning with a send-up of The Follies) the argument is who'll-marry-whom and why --- for love or a publicity stunt.

This musical is somewhat "through-sung" between several blockbuster songs --- a lot of them, obviously, duets --- and Music Director Jonathan Goldberg and Stage Director Spiro Veloudos have made the show flow fluidly from scene to scene as thougn it were a lovely dream.

Love,
===Anon.


"Side Show" (25 April - 31 May)
THE LYRIC STAGE OF BOSTON INC.
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON MA
1(617) 437-7172


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