Review – Silence: the Musical – Imperial Productions at The Curtain’s Up Pub/Baron’s Court Theatre

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THIS REVIEW IS NOT FOR THE PRODUCTION CURRENTLY AT THE ABOVE THE STAG. The review for that show is here – but you might as well read this as it explains a lot of what I’m talking about in the other review.

NOTE: THIS REVIEW ASSUMES FAMILIARITY WITH THE CHARACTERS OF SILENCE OF THE LAMBS which I knew even though I’d never seen it before ’cause I don’t like scary movies.

It’s not every night that you’re having dinner, casually admiring the hot guy two tables over, then find less than two hours later that you’re now able to say, “Wow! I got to see his junk!” But this was a special night, the night I went to see Silence: the Musical (as in the musical version of Silence of the Lambs), and the sexy, lanky redhead I was admiring was none other than “Buffalo Bill” in the show (Connor Brown in real life), and he had a very special number to sing with a title on the lines of “Would You Fuck Me Now.” And he performed it, ultimately, with his Beardsley print dressing gown (covet!) very much off and his lanky, tattooed, pierced body on. Phoar. Oh, and with his junk tucked between his legs, because, you know, looking like a woman is Bill’s shtick, not that the sharp eye wouldn’t have caught an eyeful (and apparently yummy Mr. Brown’s had more pierced than just his nipples).

And, really, wasn’t it such a rude show? Agent Starling (Charlie Cable) is groped regularly, makes fat jokes, and is mocked mercilessly for her lisp; Hannibal “the cannibal” sings “If I Could Smell Her Cunt.” There is nothing polite about this show in any way, right down to the poodle puppet (about which the less said the better). But really, if you’re not planning on seeing this show and having a good laugh then you’ve picked the wrong play to see – though I doubt anyone who would be attracted to it would be expecting a serious commentary rather than a stick in your eye parody.

I’m actually finding it hard to talk about how very well Silence worked in this tiny space. The show was inventive and fun, from the tap-dancing corpses to the face full of silly string to the use of a cut-out plastic mask for Lecter’s escape scene; but all that wouldn’t have added to a hill of beans if the cast hadn’t been so talented. Agent Starling had the looks and the moxie; while Bill was all sex and shamelessness. But the real star was Tom Murphy as Dr. Lecter himself, because with pipes like that he was a real treat to hear singing. I was reminded of the poor showing at Annie Get Your Gun (and for that matter Carousel). Murphy proved that, despite my fears, there are still apparently actors in London who can sing, though they’re being replaced on the West End with people who need microphones to amplify their tinny voices. And I can promise, you could hear the T that ended every single c**t that came out of his mouth. Mary Martin would have been proud.

I was also pleased that I’d somehow wound up at a musical where the words once again mattered, illuminating plot and character. Unfortunately (and this is my one complaint, though it was a problem far, far too much), in many scenes, especially where the actor had his back to the pillar that demarcated the two sections of audience (the stage was square and we each had a view from one side or the other) you could not hear what was being said, which was a shame as it was often funny and always interesting. It was also a problem for a few of the group scenes and the fault clearly lies on the electric piano, which just needs to be turned down a tad. I realize whoever set the sound levels probably has all of the lyrics memorized, but I don’t, and I would have liked to have heard them.

Overall, this was a brilliant night out (especially at £12 a head and with a two hour running time) and I recommend it heartily as likely the most fun musical on in town right now and CERTAINLY better than anything I’ve seen since Pirates at the Union Theater.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009. It continues through October 31st. For more information see www.imperialproductions.org. I promise I’ll add in actors’ names once I can find them – any help appreciated as I didn’t get a program.)

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14 Responses to “Review – Silence: the Musical – Imperial Productions at The Curtain’s Up Pub/Baron’s Court Theatre”

  1. Tom Murphy Says:

    The cast names are:

    Buffalo Bill (not Bob!)- Connor Brown
    Agent Clarice Starling – Charlie Cable
    Dr Hannibal Lecter – Tom Murphy

  2. Jame Gumb Says:

    Thanks for coming. Glad you enjoyed all of me.

    BB

    • webcowgirl Says:

      Thankfully there was a lot more to enjoy about the show than just you but it was _really_ a treat. Where’d that robe come from anyway?

  3. Shtarling Says:

    Loved it. Can’t wait to see Christopher Gattelli’s original New York production with additional material in January at Above The Stag.

    • webcowgirl Says:

      This sounds VERY much like an ad for the show but whatever. It’s worth seeing again and I’m okay with a little promotion here. It’s not like you’re some sleazy scalper. Those people irritate me.

  4. Tori McCartney Says:

    I saw Chris Gattelli’s production at the Fringe in NYC. Can’t wait to see his new production at the Above the Stag Theatre! I hear he is putting putting in new material! The show is a hoot!!

  5. Review – Money – Shunt (at a space on Bermondsey Street) « Life in the Cheap Seats – Webcowgirl’s London theatre reviews Says:

    […] Life in the Cheap Seats – Webcowgirl’s London theatre reviews London Theater reviews by an American expat – on a budget « Review – Silence: the Musical – Imperial Productions at The Curtain’s Up Pub/Baron… […]

  6. Around the Blogs: Number 2 « Blogging By Numbers Says:

    […] Life in the Cheap Seats Webcowgirl saw rather a lot of one of the stars of Silence: The Musical, and rather liked what she […]

  7. Review – Sweet Charity – Menier Chocolate Factory « Life in the Cheap Seats – Webcowgirl’s London theatre reviews Says:

    […] the songs I’d just heard. That hasn’t happened to me … well, excluding “Silence: The Musical,” it was the first time all year, and by those standards, I’d say that this was a […]

  8. Best London theater, 2009 « Life in the Cheap Seats – Webcowgirl’s London theatre reviews Says:

    […] Queen of the Desert: The Musical; Company; Forbidden Broadway; (the all male) Pirates of Penzance; Silence the Musical. Actually, Priscilla was never a contender for me, because it was nothing but a jukebox musical […]

  9. Review – Silence: The Musical – Above the Stag Theatre « Life in the Cheap Seats – Webcowgirl’s London theatre reviews Says:

    […] me that I could easily go without getting squicked, and thus I said yes to the production at the Baron’s Court Theater in October. It turned out to be one of my two favorite musicals of 2009 (the other being the […]

  10. Review – Legally Blonde – The Savoy Theatre « Life in the Cheap Seats – Webcowgirl’s London theatre reviews Says:

    […] I don’t know what to say. The show goes down nicely; I’d say it’s very suited to hens’ nights and entertaining out of town visitors. But it’s not a brilliant musical. Sheridan Smith is really very good, and this is a great star turn for her, but … it kind of ultimately seemed like disposable entertainment to me. I walked out and forgot about it. I didn’t remember any of the tunes; while there were a few gags here and there that I laughed about, there was just no great raging genius of “wow” happening to make me care. It was like a giant musical Twinkie: sweet and full of fluff but not very satisfying. My female friends loved it, despite the bad seats; I felt kinda sad that I hadn’t but can’t deny the truth. Oh well. Some day I’ll get a musical that makes me go “wow” again, and chances are it will either involve men in Victorian drag or Hannibal Lecter. […]

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