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Above The Stag Theatre Presents


Silence! The Musical


Tory Ross as Clarice; Miles Western as Hannibal Lecter

Photo by Derek Drescher



Book by Hunter Bell, Music and lyrics by Jon & Al Kaplan


Directed and Choreographed by Christopher Gattelli


Above The Stag Theatre


19 January to 28 February 2010









A review by Alexandra Carey for EXTRA! EXTRA!


A week after a certain West End musical parody of a film had its VIP press night, a very different film parody opened in the small but ambitious ‘Above the Stag’ Theatre. Both these shows may be based on hit films, both American, both incredibly self-conscious and both very, very silly but they couldn’t be more different! For a start Silence! is full of that real biting comedy, managing to take everything serious and even scary about Silence of the Lambs and twist it into the purely ridiculous. It’s also very rude, consistently in bad taste and wonderfully entertaining.

So, pastiche is in. We make excuses for loving camp, cheesy, silliness by clothing it in cross references and self-mockery and calling ourselves clever. Silence! does this to a tee and does it very well. It is clear from the outset that director Christopher Gattelli knows his stuff, even without prior knowledge of his impressive previous work. This production is loaded with clever, sharp bits of direction which make the book and lyrics even funnier, as every aspect of both the film itself and the musical theatre genre is dissected and laughed at. The pure incongruity of the content and form is hilarious, but its the details that sustain the comedy throughout the whole of this full length, plot heavy show. This will not be to everyone’s taste but you can see why it has garnered a cult following in the US as well as a coveted New York Fringe Festival award.

Performances are strong in what is a small space for a musical by any standard. Tory Ross and Miles Western, as Clarice and Hannibal respectively, steal the show as expected. Ross is a ball of infectious and precise comedy energy, whilst Western’s chilling detachment would be almost scary in another setting - with less exaggerated sideways glances and raised eyebrows. A chorus of trotter clicking, ear swinging lambs completes the general air of hallucination perfectly and a parade of American stereotypes is ably and slickly pulled off by the company. The golden rule of silly theatre, and especially parody, is that it has to be intentional and it has to be good. Silence! could sell seats on the virtue of being outrageous, but I rather hope it will sell them on the virtue of being very well done.

Silence! feels like it has not quite settled into its stride yet - but for a third performance that is hardly surprising. All of the individual factors are there to make a great show and as they gel together it is only going to get better, slicker and funnier. The show reminds us that not everything camp is frothy, and that comedy lightning can still strike when you least expect it.



Above The Stag Theatre

15 Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DD

19 Jan - 28 Feb 2010

7.30pm (Sunday 6.30)

Tickets: £15

Box Office: 02089324747









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