directed by Hallie Baran
musical director Chris Raymond
choreographer Angela Todaro
producer by Doma Theatre Commpany
review by Phillip Kelly
Xanadu is camp, but it's also supposed to be funny and so it should have the energy of an all out comedy, big, over-the-top splendor. It doesn't have to connect with us emotionally, the plot is too ridiculous for that and the characters too thin, we should, however, believe that the leads have fallen in love. This is a show that should cling to a wide-eyed optimism and youthful energy; kids in the backyard being ridiculous and irrelevant - like most 80's romantic comedies were.
Doma's production, directed by Hallie Baran, lacks that inspired vision and energy to elevate the show. Some of the song and dance numbers are fun (there's an enjoyable tap dance), but the scenes in between lack the energy and pace of comedy, and they end up feeling like a bad 80's movie, instead of something that celebrates bad 80's movies. To be fair those elevated and amusing moments are occasionally found, but had they permeated the entire show this would have been a better review.
Comedy is also in the details. A missed reaction, or mistimed glance will throw off a joke entirely. It didn't feel like a lot of time was spent in refining these beats throughout the show.
The performers aren't bad and they help sell some of those moments. Lovlee Carroll, hits some perfect notes and garners some genuine laughter from me. Lovelee plays the muse Kira, who comes to life from a mural that Sonny Malone, as played to be a Venice Beach, Keanu Reeves artist by Matt O'Neill, has painted. She's there to inspire him to greatness. They end up having to talk a business mogul Danny Maguire (David Michael Travino) into letting them use an abandoned theatre that he owns (and even built) for their vision. Meanwhile, two of Kira's muse sisters from Mount Olympus decide to get her banished forever by getting Kira and Sonny to fall in love. But is there love real or is it a curse? So, as you can see, the story is pretty ridiculous.
Brittany Rodine as evil sister Calliope finds the right tone with her performance and when she's given the opportunity she bathes in the camp. Alan Lee and Bradley Sattler look like they're having fun and are pretty good dancers, and David Michael Trevino, once he starts singing and dancing comes to life. Matt O'Neill is charming as Sonny. There is some talent here. There's just a lot of missed opportunities to bring the show to life with them. It feels like they're playing at camp as opposed to embracing it.
Bring some dollar bills, as they have a full bar and cotton candy in the lobby!
Xanadu presented by Doma Theatre Company at the MET Theatre
1089 N oxford Ave. LA, CA 90029
Sept 7th-Oct 7th.
Tickets: 323-802-4990 or www.DomaTheatre.com