“Silence! The Musical” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – May 6, 2018


Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

“The Silence of the Lambs’” Doctor Hannibal Lecter is the classic evil nemesis.  A vicious murderer who targets women and hides behind his hate, Lecter perpetuates his hateful and unforgiving killings without a bit of remorse as he helps a naïve young FBI agent, Clarice Starling, bring Buffalo Bill, another psychopathic murderer, to justice.  Author Thomas Harris’s 1988 novel was the film’s source and was used by the musical’s creators, Hunter Bell who wrote the book, and Jon and Al Kaplan who crafted the musical numbers, that turn the gruesome film into a hysterically wacky musical parody.

“Silence! The Musical” is marking its local debut in a perfectly depraved and frantically funny Stray Cat Theatre production under the expert guidance of director Louis Farber and featuring a superb cast who know how to deliver the zany word plays and inane plot details without ever laughing at the idiocy.

Lecter is a composite of every wicked killer.  The off-Broadway musical hit laughs at Lecter’s terrible machinations while a young and inexperienced but cleverly intuitive and bound-to-succeed FBI agent, Clarice Starling, brings Buffalo Bill, a maniac murderer, to justice with Lecter’s assistance.

The weird show will not appeal to everyone but if you enjoy evil silliness and a plot too ridiculous to ever believe, you’re in for a pleasant two hours of delightful fun with constant laughter.

Farber keeps the zany silliness moving at a breakneck pace so that the stupidity never gets dull or slows down the delicious mockery.  His cast knows how to play the irreverence so it is always fresh, clever, and alive, the perfect combination to create wild laughter.  There’s strong singing and expert dancing from the cast.

Scott Schmelder’s Lecter is all stalwart seriousness and he’s always on target with Lecter’s ridiculous approaches to life and ludicrous justification for his violent approach to everyday life.  Brandi Bigley has a wacky field day playing Clarice and Bigley uses her willy ways and insightful foresight to solve the bizarre goings on.  A five-person ensemble handle supporting parts as they keep the zany wackiness flowing.  Ayanna Le Andre has a voluptuous dance that comes out of nowhere.  A tiny combo plays the cute but undistinguished score.

“Silence! The Musical“ is a silly but amusing entertainment performed zestfully by strong performers and directed with delicious gusto.  It continues at the Tempe Center for the Arts through May 19.  For tickets, call 480-350-2822 or order tickets online at www.straycattheatre.org.

Grade: A