If the defunct HBO show Carnivale mated with Glee, their love child would be Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride the Cyclone. The musical tells the story of…ah, here, just watch the trailer:
It’s a macabre, imaginative cabaret filled with fun, clever songs and terrific performances. While the whole cast was very strong, both Sarah Jane Pelzer and Elliot Loran stood out. The production seemed very tight and well-rehearsed for an opening night. The show is full of choreography and finicky business with props, so I was struck by how smoothly the cast handled all the staging minutiae.
It’s really more of a series of delightful songs than a play or musical in any formal sense. Like a good episode of True Blood, it’s dark and sexy, but you don’t exactly dwell on its story structure or themes. The characters worry about the claustrophobia of small town life, but the show doesn’t have anything fresh to say on that topic.
I had a couple of minor quibbles with the staging–the set and props were all a little too Etsy for my taste. I’d also have excised a few date-specific details from the script. Mentions of YouTube or Christina Aguilera interrupt the timeless quality created by the fairground setting and musical choices.
It’s a great date show–90 minutes without intermission. Bringing a boyfriend or girlfriend to Ride the Cyclone would make you look a little edgy, and there’s lots to talk about after the show.
Ride the Cyclone runs through October 15, and you can get tickets here.
Photo by Fairen Berchard.
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