Oscar E Moore

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Silence! The Musical – Unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs Off-B’way

July 11th, 2011 by Oscar E Moore

They’re Baa-ack!  Hannibal the Cannibal.  Clarice Starling.  Jamie “Buffalo Bill” Gumb.  Sgt. Pembry.  Butterflies.  Skin Lotion.  And Precious.  Along with a chorus of floppy eared lovable licentious song-and-dance lambs in the “unauthorized parody” of the hit horror flick “The Silence of the Lambs” now playing and perhaps shocking with humor best described as in-your-face raunchy at the intimate Theater 80 on Fri and Saturday evenings St. Marks Place.

How do they get away with it?  I mean, The Silence of the Lambs is a copyrighted brand.  I have to admit it’s a great target to take aim at in the satire department.  I suppose it’s the parody part that saves their skins so to speak from being handed a cease and desist order.  Anyway there are plenty of people that will eat up this sort of crude humor and flock to see this demented musical.

A musical without memorable tunes (Music and Lyrics by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan) but with song titles that you will not soon forget – “If I Could Smell Her Cunt” (There is a dream ballet to emphasize the odor in question danced by Callan Bergmann & Ashlee Dupre)  “Quid Pro Quo” and what will certainly become an infamous all time favorite “I’d Fuck Me.” 

Knowing the source material will help.  It would also help if you have an open mind and have a propensity for crude, Frat Boy jokes that hit with the thud of a sledge hammer. Not to mention those jokes that just land with a thud.  The book is by Hunter Bell.

For those uninitiated, FBI agent in training Clarice Starling (Jenn Harris wearing a mean wig and doing a mean imitation of Jodie Foster – exaggerated speech impediment and all) meets with cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter (a terrific Brent Barrett with a voice to kill) to obtain info about and clues as to the whereabouts of “Buffalo Bill” (a wild Stephen Bienskie giving us a glimpse of his genitals) a transvestite chubby chaser who stalks women of a certain size (14) to skin them alive to improve his wardrobe while sticking butterflies down their throats. 

Her back-up partner Ardelia Mapp (a great Deidre Goodwin who would fit nicely into Sister Act) would like to get up close and cozy with her as well as improve her shot.  Clarice has to deal with her superior Jack Crawford (Howard Kaye) Sgt. Pembry (Jeff Hiller) , a loony jail psychiatrist Dr. Chilton (Harry Bouvy), her dead dad and the aforementioned flock of lambs all the while manning the search and recovery operation of Senator Martin’s daughter Catherine both played by Lucia Spina.  The down the well scenes are particularly clever as is the program.

What should be an 80 minute riot turns out to a repetitious two act stretch as we grow weary with what we’ve seen before without anything new or clever to keep us interested.  The choreography by director Christopher Gattelli is laughable in a good way.  Yes, some bits are horrifyingly funny but whatever happened to innuendo and wit?

The immensely amusing and amazing Jeff Hiller plays all his characters to the hilt and practically steals the show from Brent Barrett who plays it straight with a booming voice and enough menace to fog up the glass partition between he and Jenn Harris who is a great comedienne but who obviously hasn’t been hired for her ability to sing on pitch.

www.SilenceTheMusical.com    Photo:  Carol Rosegg

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