In the daft and campy Silence! The Musical, based on beloved Grand Guignol horror film The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal (the Cannibal) Lecter doesn't just eat a liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti: He also sings in a lovely baritone. This droll retelling of the film — book by Hunter Bell, music and lyrics by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan — is clearly targeted at fans of the movie, and the material assumes a certain amount of familiarity with the original work. However, within that context, director Christopher Gattelli dishes up some brilliant stagecraft.
Opening with a band of singing and narrating chorines in lamb costumes, the play follows the same narrative trajectory of the film, but with surprisingly ambitious, yet ghoulish, production numbers meshing a South Park sensibility with crisp choreography, cheerful (though not particularly memorable) music and smirking irony.
Although the work is straightforward, the Carol Burnett Show–style parody tends to wear thin after about an hour and a half. Still, it's hard not to find the overall quirkiness irresistible.
As FBI Agent Clarice Starling, Christina Lakin does a perfect deadpan imitation of Jodie Foster — but the true standout is Davis Gaines' dead-on, leeringly charismatic turn as the amusingly menacing, cannibalistic killer.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 & 7 p.m. Starts: Aug. 31. Continues through Dec. 9, 2012
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.