By Kyle Osborne
They say that the secret to being able to intentionally sing off key is to be an excellent singer. Makes sense, right? In order to know which note is the wrong one, you have to know which is the right one.
You can apply that same truism to the sinfully silly Silence! The Musical which has audiences shooting their beverages through their nostrils at Studio Theatre.
The conceit is that we the audience are watching a group of amateur thespians known as the Quantico Players as they sing, dance and act their way through a musical version of the 1991 Oscar winning film, “The Silence of The Lambs.” The more sincere they are as performers, the more hilarious things get.
And while we’re busy watching what turns out to be a pretty darn faithful re-creation of the film, we’re quickly realizing that the “amateur” actors are, of course, amazing singers and dancers and actors, all wrapped up into one delicious summer romp at the theatre.
Laura Jordan mugs with glee, nailing and simultaneously sending up Jodie Foster’s turn as agent Clarice Starling, an upstart FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer (Let’s not recount the entire plot of the story—we all know it by now, don’t we?). Words like “Clarice” become “Clareeesh”, and “Starling” becomes “Shhtarling.” The spittle (shhpittle?) flies with every earnest proclamation.
Tally Sessions has the unenviable task of playing a character made so iconic by Anthony Hopkins that even in a broad parody, it’s hard to erase one’s burned in mental image of the Welshman’s original.
Tom Story plays Buffalo Bill, the serial killer who, ewww, skins his victims for his own fashionista freak outs. Story has as much fun as the audience, which is to say, lots. Theater goers familiar with Story’s work know he can do just about anything—seeing him let it all hang out (and even tucked in at one point) is like seeing a caged bird fly out the window and into a car windshield. It’s glorious and twisted.
Speaking of which, the songs are not for the faint of heart. They are beautiful in some cases (Get it? That’s why it’s so damn funny) with sweet melodies juxtaposed against lyrics such as “If I Could Smell Her C*nt.” Not to mention “I’d F*ck Me” and “Put the F*cking Lotion in the Basket.” You get the idea.
Besides the show itself, the actual venue gets into character: Studio’s upstairs space has been converted into a lounge. The audience members are seated at tables (wait service before and after the performance keeps the drinks coming) and instead of peanuts to snack on, a bowl of fried Fava beans is served with a smile. Nice touch.
Silence! The Musical continues at Studio Theatre through August 23rd. For tickets and info, visit: https://www.studiotheatre.org/