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Falcon’s “Silence!” is Shear Madness

Review by Doug Iden of Silence: The Musical: Falcon Theatre

Silence! The Musical, the outrageous parody of the movie Silence of the Lambs, exploded at the Falcon Theatre in a regional premier. This play continues the Falcon tradition of producing quirky, offbeat musicals. Amidst a quintet of agitated lambs functioning as a Greek Chorus, the dark battle of wits between FBI behaviorist cadet Clarice Starling and the serial killer Hannibal Lecter unfolds. Starling is interrogating Lecter to get some insights into the search for current serial killer, Buffalo Bill, while fighting her own traumatic childhood represented by the bleating lambs.

This is a very raunchy but hilarious show which is intended only for adult audiences because of language and subject matter. However, many of the sight gags and clever dialogue are right on target as the show spoofs not only the movie but the affectations of the principal actors in the drama. Lauren Bailey is superb at mimicking the haughtiness and the slight speech impediment which actress Jodie Foster used while portraying Starling in the movie. At times, Bailey sounds hauntingly like Foster in the movie. As the counter-puncher, Mike Hall plays Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal the Cannibal with the proper arrogance and amorality which won an Oscar for Hopkin’s performance. In another sight gag, Hall shows a picture of an Oscar for her performance alluding to the actual Oscar won by Foster.   Brandon Bentley portrays the current serial killer, Buffalo Bill as an outrageously over-the-top cross-dresser, and steals several scenes that he is in.

Despite the bravado roles of the principals, this is an ensemble cast with actors Burgess Byrd, Katrina Reynolds, Terry Gosdin, Michael Dean Conley and Jay Myers alternately playing the lamb’s chorus and all of the other characters in the show. The lambs are in a perpetual stew as they comment on the characters and add to the RAMbunctiosness of the show. The lambs further set the background of the fast paced story told in a one-act format.

The lyrics of the music are both scatological and extremely clever but the music is rather pedestrian.   I thought that the musical highlight was a song called “Quid Pro Quo” (Latin for working together) sung several times by Lecter to Starling as the price for his cooperation. The three women band, led by Music Director Sherry McCamley, played well and, thankfully, did not drown out the actors who did not have microphones. The props, designed by Alecia Lewkowich and Ginny Weil, added to a number of sight gags, especially related to a desk on wheels used to represent the glass wall of Lecter’s cell. Director Ted Weil directed the insanity on stage and the choreography of Maggie Perrino effectively portrayed the lamb’s movements. I am always amazed at how the actors seamlessly move off and on stage in a small environment.

Within the last year, the Falcon has significantly upgraded the facilities including the riser, seating and the washrooms. This has added immeasurably to the comfort and enjoyment of the audience. Thanks to the Falcon for that.

Again, a caution: This is an adult show ONLY because of language and subject matter which is not appropriate for children and may be offensive to some adults.