Silence! The Musical

I’ve never really been interested in musicals. Once in a while though, some shows come along that get my interest. Usually, because the premise is not something you’d base a musical on. It happened before with “Evil Dead the Musical,” and it has happened again with “Silence! The Musical,” which is a musical based on “The Silence of the Lambs,” that is currently playing in NYC.

The full title of the show is actually, “Silence! The Musical: The unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs,” and that’s probably best, I couldn’t take a show about a singing killer seriously. The show itself handles the parody quite well, without ever becoming too wacky. Small changes add to the atmosphere, such as Clarice speaking throughout the show with a heavy southern accent and a slight lisp on her S’s, while major things like the FBI being portrayed as completely incompetent add to the overall atmosphere.

As for the songs themselves, they are well written, constantly slipping in jokes and varying from a number of genres. Almost all the famous lines in the movie lead to a song, including a wonderful lament by Hannibal about how he wishes he could connect with Clarice on a deeper, personal level, but has been stuck in prison for too long to connect with another person entitled, “If I could smell her cunt.”

Others include, “Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket,” and “Would you Fuck Me?” which features Buffalo Bill doing a fan dance with his robe throughout the song, then doing the infamous reveal at the end. Thankfully, the overly quoted line about Hannibal eating someone’s liver is not a song, just used as a quick joke. Of all the lines in the movie, I was never sure why this one was picked to be parodied and mentioned so much, but I’m glad the writers of the musical also felt that it was overused.

Everyone portrays multiple characters and the cast does a superb job. However, David Garrison steals every scene he is in as Hannibal Lecter. He has more time on stage than Anthony Hopkins’ original 16 minutes on screen, having multiple songs throughout the show. His portrayal of Lecter lacks a bit of Hopkins’ intensity, but this is necessary to make most of the jokes work. Everyone plays off each other perfectly, and you often forget that it’s only a small cast playing multiple people.

There is a simplistic set design, with 4 movable walls, a desk and a removable pane of glass. It’s always clearly explained where everyone is supposed to be, and the walls are used in interesting ways. In the scenes where Bufflo Bill has Katherine trapped in the well, Katherine sits in front of one wall to signify her being in the hole, delivering all her lines looking up. Buffalo Bill stands behind another wall, speaking down to her through a hole on it. Any movement of the walls needed is done by people dressed in lamb ears and hooves, who also serve as the chorus. It takes the symbolism a little far, but the funny justifies it.

“Silence! The Musical,” is an unexpected musical, but one I am glad I saw. The cast does a stellar job, having fun with the original source material. A lot of the songs are currently stuck in my head, but they’re all so good I don’t really mind. If you’re a fan of the original movie, or just a fan of musicals with odd premises, I can’t recommend seeing this show enough. It is currently playing Thursday through Saturday at 8 P.M. and Sundays at 3 and 7 P.M. at The 9th Space Theatre at Performance Space 122 in New York City.

To learn more, and most likely buy tickets, check out Silence! The Musical!

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