The annual IndyFringe Festival, featuring shows at venues on or just feet away from Mass Ave., is currently taking place through Sunday. Hopefully, however, theater-goers won’t overlook the bawdy and utterly hilarious “Silence! The Musical” now playing at the Phoenix Theatre. But if they do, fortunately they can still catch the humorous spoof of the 1991 film “Silence of the Lambs,” because it runs through September 13 on the Frank and Katrina Basile Stage.
If you missed seeing the film, “Silence! The Musical,” even with its satirical treatment, is still pretty faithful to the movie’s plot. Jon Kaplan and his brother Al wrote the music and lyrics and Al and Hunter Bell wrote the book of this wickedly outrageous parody of the horror and crime story. It’s about earnest F.B.I. agent Clarice Starling (Chelsea Stauffer) who tries to obtain the cooperation of the creepy, flesh-eating madman Dr. Hannibal Lector (Paul David Nicely) in nabbing the diabolical Buffalo Bill (Scot Greenwell), a cross-dressing serial killer before he murder his next victim.
Phillip Armstrong, Diane Tsao Boehm, Emily McGee, Brian Noffke, Chelsey Stauffer and Nate Walden all sing and dance as members of a wacky ear-wearing chorus of lambs. They also play multiple parts in this well-oiled ensemble piece featuring talented comic actors, singers and dancers, deftly directed by Bryan Fonseca who relishes the irreverent.
Regular Phoenix Theatre goers won’t be in the least bit shocked about the show’s potty humor or expletives, which are numerous. But those unfamiliar with what is typical fare for this fearless institution might be scandalized to hear songs, such as “If I Could Smell Her ____,” “I’d ____Me” and “Put the _______ Lotion in the Basket.” As a matter of fact, the audience member seated next to this writer was both expressionless and motionless during most of the show, even as most of the crowd present exploded with laughter throughout it. One can only imagine what that individual’s “silence” conveyed.
“Silence! The Musical” features a clever script, witty, yet less than memorable songs, campy dance numbers choreographed by Kenny Shepard and stellar piano accompaniment by music director Jay Schwandt.
All in all, it made for a few hours of unfiltered, entertaining amusement and unbridled fun. For those who enjoy a pure diversion, this show’s for you.
Tickets for “Silence! The Musical” are $27 per person on Thursdays and Sundays, $33 per person on Fridays and Saturdays, and $20 for anyone 21and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at (317) 635-7529 or visiting phoenixtheatre.org. Curtain times for the production are Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.