Move over Assassins, Sweeney Todd, and Capeman.
There’s a new killer musical in town, and this one’s supposed to be funny.
A hit at the Fringe Festival, Silence! The Musical — the unauthorized spoof of Silence of the Lambs — is like a darker Xanadu, a satire that also manages to be creepy in itself as the stomach-churning plot unfolds.
This being a comedy, the show opens with a chorus of lambs singing the backstory:
FBI trainee Clarice Starling will meet convict Hannibal Lecter to glean info that could help catch another psycho, Buffalo Bill.
And then come the leads.
As Clarice, Jenn Harris captures Jodie Foster’s sibilant speech patterns and robotic movements, and carries the show by acting out her awkward heroics with a fierce deadpan.
Brent Barrett doesn’t exude much menace as Lecter, but he sings beautifully and has fun with the outrageous material. (“If I Could Smell Her Cunt” is his big number. Hey, move over, Book of Mormon!)
Too bad the score is an uneven mishmash and sometimes the smirking is hard to take.
But there’s a lot of fun to be had — like when a poster of The Beaver pops up and almost scares Clarice to death.
Hunter Bell ([title of show]) wrote the script, which hits more funny buttons in the second half, when the show finds its wacky but dark tone.
The result is better than the Silence musical a friend and I wrote in the ’90s.
That one’s big song was “Hannibal and Clarice” done to the tune of “Beauty and the Beast”!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 9, 2011