The Joyous Camp of it All
Xanadu is a well-oiled machine
by Jay Catterson
Holy Zeus! This Arts Club Vancouver production of the delightfully zany Broadway jukebox musical Xanadu, based on the god-awful 80s movie of the same name and includes all the hit songs plus others from Electric Light Orchestra, hits the Granville Island Stage like a glittery lightning bolt struck down from the heavens. The production is a well-oiled machine, and the actors all give performances that both delight and impress. Director Dean Paul Gibson has to be commended on the splendid job of executing the ingeniously comedic book by Douglas Carter Beane on stage; this show is a juggernaut to perform, with all the witty lines and gags needing to be pulled off with enough panache that if not executed right, they could be lost on the audience. However, the cast is solid and vocally splendid, and they deliver on all levels... mostly while wearing roller skates!
effervescent and delicious as a fizzy summer cocktail
Standout performances include leads Gaelan Beatty as Sonny Malone, who has a dream of opening a roller disco and dons those cutoff jean shorts like no other (yes, he's a total heartthrob that can totally sing), and the vocally talented Marlie Collins as muse Clio, who disguises herself as a mortal named Kira, with leg warmers and an Australian accent a la Olivia Newton-John to complete her disguise. Other notable standouts include the deliciously sinister duo of Beatrice Zeilinger as Melpomene and Bonnie Panych as Calliope, who play a pair of jealous muses who plot to place the curse of love upon their sister Clio. But the biggest surprise is ensemble member J. Cameron Barnett, who plays muse Terpsichore (amongst many other roles). His delightful sassiness and stage presence delivers enough sashay to standout amongst all the others.
Xanadu is as effervescent and delicious as a fizzy summer cocktail, and I would have to say that this is probably the most enjoyable Arts Club production of the season. So much so, that I wanted to hunt down a pair of roller skates, and sport some knee high tube socks and short shorts, and skate along the seawall back to Granville Island for a repeat showing; yes, it's that good.