This really is the absolute Musical of Musicals. 

Published on: December 23, 2013

Filled Under: Reviews

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Adrian Marchuk, Dana Jean Phoenix, Mark Cassius and Paula Wolfson in the Toronto Fringe hit Musical of Musicals the Musical. Photo: Josie Di Luzio

 

By Lindsay L. Swanson

Do Rodgers & Hammerstein, Sondheim, Herman, or Kander & Ebb mean anything to you?
If so, you will enjoy this play. Guaranteed.

I feel as though I can guarantee this because of the first-hand evidence of enjoyment that surrounded me throughout this production. Knee sleeping, giddy bouncing in one’s seat, and out-bursting laughter, were among some of the traits of the theatre enthusiasts that were THOROUGHLY enjoying this production. Not to say I did not enjoy it as well – but I will admit that a couple – or hundreds – of musical references were lost on me. Where’s the boy with the bagel? I still don’t understand that one, despite Google’s best efforts.

The four person on-stage company is teaming with talent. The singing, dancing, humour, and versatility is obvious, even to the most novice musical theatre go’er. They take the same plot (a simple plot of a young, naïve girl who is behind on the rent she owes to her meanie landlord, while her save-the-day love interest and loving mother-figure do their best to … well, save the day) and apply it to five different musical genres. This is where your Musical Trivial Pursuit knowledge is key. While the genres are entirely entertaining, they are best suited to an audience that understands the originals of all the satire that is unfolding with each “chapter” of the production. The production is full of jokes, and an unexpected amount of sexual innuendos. Oh, the sexual innuendos! Suitable for all <adult> ages of musical enthusiasts, though, from the 80 year-old women sitting in front of me, to the 20-something gay man behind me.

The show is fun and casual, and the company makes the demanding genre changes look effortless. The program also includes a guide to each of the musical styles showcased in the production, which I found very helpful. If I could have a theatre experience re-do, I would have researched the various styles first – but barring watching a lifetime of the most acclaimed musicals, I am not sure if pre-homework would have helped much.

Ultimately, a non-musical enthusiast can enjoy this production, but a true musical enthusiast will LOVE it. A LOT. The woman beside me was losing her mind. At each moment when she was crying with happiness / slapping her knees repeatedly / looking on in wonderment as though she had just seen the Queen, it made me wish I knew more about Musicals.

The Musical of Musicals, The Musical  is on now until January 5, 2014 at The Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St.). For tix click here.

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