Sex is a very powerful thing, and face it gentlemen, the women are the ones that hold the power. One well planned headache and it is nothing but disappointment and a cold shower. Even Aristophanes in 411B.C. knew that dangling sex like a carrot at the end of a stick creates the basis for some great comedy. If he only knew how well a little pop/rock music and some strategically placed cynicism could translate his original work!
Saturday night’s sold out audience was treated to a show that not only drummed up more sexual tension then a gym full of teenagers, but provided a sharp and layered performance mixing vocal harmonies with tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
The story unfolds well into the Pelopponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Lysistrata (Katie Nigsch Fairfax) decides that the best way to bring peace between both lands is to have the women of Greece deny their husbands sex. The women of Greece, Myrhinna of Athens (Autumn Seavey) and Lampito of Sparta (Ali Hoxie) are faced with dilemmas in self control as they attempt to withhold from sex to potentially save the men they love. As Lysistrata explains, “It is the women who will recover this nation from despair!”
The production adds to Aristophanes’ original plot the three goddesses Hera (Katie Brobst), Aphrodite (Chelsea Rae-Abbate), and the blind justice Themis (Mia Branco). Hera and Aphrodite are close to a full on cat fight as they quarrel about a women’s responsibilities to a man and herself. Themis is caught in the middle with weight of mankind on her shoulders. And what about the men Cinesias (Timothy Adams) and the Lacky (Arden Moscati)? Well they are just trying, with no avail, to keep from getting overly “excited.”
The music in the show has moments of powerful vocals blended with three and four part harmonies. Even during quieter duets and solos, the music retains its sexual humor. During “True Lovers,” Myrhinna and Cinesias reveal their inner thoughts in a dream-like sequence. She is thinking of the love of her husband while he is focused a little more below the belt. With titles like “Pussy on a Pedestal” and “It Sucks to be a Chick in Athens,” the music is light hearted and filled with bodily humor jokes, however campy that might become. The actors sell the choreography with good timing and clean execution.
The direction successfully helps diffuse moments of building melodrama with sarcasm making other scenes, especially between Lysistrata and the Commissioner, powerful and focused. Director Patrick Magill fully utilizes the Warehouse space, situating the three goddesses above the playing space. Subtly and smart interactions among the goddesses add narrative and entertaining layers as the main action happens down below.
At times the lighting became distracting to the actors and the audience. Cues seemed to be missed and found and finagled where a general wash would have served the show well. Even though Lysistrata: The Musical! is not pioneering new ground in the feminist movement, the empowerment and the independence of a woman during times of war still has modern day implications.
Lysistrata: The Musical! breaths fresh life into one of Greece’s most famous comedies with upbeat harmonies and biting humor that reminds us “there’s nothing sexy about a war!”
Lysistrata: The Musical!
Concept by Cara Gabriel
Music by Jeremy King
Directed by Patrick Magill
Reviewed by Kevin Faragher
Running time: 75 minutes
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?