XANADU; Hale Center Theater Orem; written by Douglas Carter Beane; directed by Christopher Clark; now through April 7; running time 1 hour 30 minutes; no intermission
OREM — Just don't take it too seriously and you'll be fine with Hale Center Theater Orem's production of "Xanadu."
Given that the stage production is based on a 1980 film that has been dubbed one of the worst movies ever, it can only work as a spoof.
And it does.
It's funny. It's colorful. It's musical. It's certainly original and the main actors go about on roller-skates. (Actors also stalk onto the stage on stilts, swing from the rafters and climb the fake, scenic mountains.)
The only thing missing is a real plot or deep character development. (But then there are no deep characters.)
But who needs 'em when you have songs like "Suddenly," "Have You Never Been Mellow" and "Magic" that Olivia Newton-John made into hits and a story that includes strong male actors in ruffly, chiffon dresses and dialogue that makes fun of itself?
Kate Bailey (on MWF) plays a semi-sweet muse determined to come to Earth where she unexpectedly finds true love. She simply adopts an Australian accent and dons skates and "Voila!" — she's disguised. No one will know who she really is, not even Danny, her tap-dancing lover of the past.
Darick J. Pead, (MWF), plays Sonny in short shorts, a relatively clueless sidewalk artist who lucks into a romance with Kira — a relationship marked with sudden, puppetlike moves, eye-locks and passion built on a couple of casual meetings.
A couple of Kira's energetic and comic sister muses, including Melpomene, played by Oyoyo Joi Bonner, and Calliope, played by Ali Bennett, are out to mess her up. Then the leadership of the muses will return to where it ought to have been.
The whole thing is completely hokey on purpose with exaggerated moves and campy dialogue, not to mention unrealistic expectations and scenarios: the "Cinderella" shoe on the stairs and one afternoon (then one hour) to get a disco/rollerball Xanadu theater ready.
The set for this show is well planned given the tiny stage for skating, and there are some clever adaptations such as the mural of the wall art that splits to allow actors who were painted to come alive and the Pegasus horse that returns in the sky as miniature Pegasus with a Barbie doll astride it.
Then there's Zeus and his wife, the Cyclops, the Centaur, Mount Olympus ... the list goes on.
The costumes are elegant, outrageous and different from biker shorts and soft dresses to life-saving legwarmers and pink rollerskates.
On opening night, only a few sound glitches marred the action.
However, given the breakneck speed at which the Hale Center owners moved to get the carpeting and chairs replaced between productions and the complexity of this revamped-from-Broadway show, it's surprisingly good.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35' years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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