When Douglas Carter Beane decided to make a theatrical spoof of “Xanadu” (that witless stinker of a movie starring Olivia Newton-John) people questioned his sanity. That 1980 movie was so bad it developed a cult following.
Beane, however, knew what he was doing. His stage version, a tongue-in-cheek, joyous romp, opened in 2007 to raves on Broadway, and it generated enthusiasm here in Seattle when the national tour visited.
Director David Ira Goldstein and the Village Theatre have now put their stamp on this absurd story, in which the Greek demigoddess Clio intervenes in the life of buff beach boy Sonny, who wants to establish a disco roller rink at California’s Venice Beach. Clio and her sister muses, the goddesses of knowledge and the arts, are allowed to help humans, but they dare not fall in love with them. Zeus forbids it.
But Clio, disguised as Kira, a roller babe with an Australian accent, of course falls in love with Sonny while the easy-listening pop from the film (”Magic,” “Xanadu”) and other Newton-John hits (”Have You Ever Been Mellow?”) swirl around them.
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This is late-disco high camp. The stage is a kaleidoscope on which the perky and fey cast cavorts. Clio’s sister muses dance, sing and roller skate in pastel togas and then electric disco outfits. To reinforce the merriment, flirtatious men play two of the muses.
The first act drags, but come the second act, watch out. Anything can happen and does. Michael Gilliam’s lighting scheme uses every color and every permutation of lighting possible. Tim Symons’ four-piece orchestra holds nothing back. And in the midst of it all, down comes Pegasus, the mythical flying horse, to transport Clio away.
The beautiful Jessica Skerritt (Clio) hasn’t mastered the Australian accent, but sings like a goddess should. Dane Stokinger (Skerritt’s real-life husband) is the love-struck Sonny, bringing both ambition and naiveté to the role. Jeff Steitzer, who doubles as Zeus and as the owner of the property Sonny needs for his roller rink, adds a touch of reality to this meant-to-be-cheesy confection.
Nancy Worssam: firstname.lastname@example.org