Annoyance Theatre Salem! The MusicalBy Betsy Marks Delaney • Jul 21st, 2010 • Category: Fringe, Reviews
The Official Description: Annoyance Theatre’s Salem! The Musical: a campy, crass retelling of colonial history.
They say: “Salem is a love child created by the cast through the process of improvisation. The show was originally performed at the Annoyance Theatre, Chicago, in the Fall of 2009.”
This original ensemble improvisational work out of Chicago, IL is aptly produced by the Annoyance Theatre. While Dan Wessels’ musical numbers are clever and, for the most part, funny, the spoken scenes left me wondering if the group needed better inspiration for their material. There could have been so much more if the cast chose to work through the real humor of the times rather than trying to introduce random, modern situations and language that don’t really serve to tell the story.
Note that I may be alone here. There were plenty of audience members who seemed to enjoy the piece, including the guys sitting next to me, and there are some funny scenes in there, most notably whenever Rasheeda Moore hits the stage as “Gonnie.”
Elise Dubois (playing Abigail Parris, unwanted niece of Reverend Parris) has a lovely singing voice. Alison Black (as Tituba) and Ms. Moore can also both hold their own with the musical material. Ashley Thornton’s intentionally off-key belting (as Betsy Parris) was, well, annoying.
Unfortunately, there just didn’t seem to be enough funny material to balance this uneven musical production. Salem! The Musical was certainly crass and annoying, which fits the description of this production to a T. Campy? Not so much.
Disclaimer: Capital Fringe provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5326.
Betsy Marks Delaney is founder and Artistic Director of OutOftheBlackBox Theatre Company (O2B2) and General Manager of the Greenbelt Arts Center. Since 2006 Betsy has worked as a director, producer, designer and more. Betsy has also worked with Washington Revels, Arena Stage, the now-defunct Harlequin Dinner Theatre and with community theatre companies both in Maryland and in upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Theatre from SUNY New Paltz. Through Hawkeswood Productions, Betsy produces archival performance videos and YouTube highlight spots.