CELIA IPIOTIS REVIEWS "STRANGER SINGS"
Hysteria stars in the energetic musical parody Stranger Sings. For those who are devotees of Stranger Things, the Netflix sci-fi thriller pinned to a cast of teenagers, a mother, sheriff, girl with supernatural abilities and oh yea, a monster -- Stranger Sings nails the "upside down" and "right-side-up" mayhem. Adhering to the serial's characters and early plot lines, the effervescent cast's talent and ingenuity conspire in sourcing an evening of entertainment all will enjoy, regardless of familiarity with the original.
In fact, without any previous knowledge of the series, my date howled at all the overwrought characters including the mother, Joyce (Caroline Kennedy), the tough/ softie Sheriff Hopper (Shawn W. Smith); forever hunky Steve (Garrett Paladian) intensely committed to his "great" hair and chick magnetism; the overlooked "friend" Barb (a knockout singer, SLee); supernatural Eleven (Harley Sleger) whose nose bleeds after every super act; plus the nerd pals Lucas (Jamir Brown), Dustin (Jeremiah Garcia), and Mike (Jeffrey Laughrun).
Hardly worth explaining the plot, Stranger Sings toys faithfully with the interaction of the characters, zapped into frenzied passions by the tuneful music and songs scored by the talented Jonathan Hogue.
Written by Hogue and turbo charged by director Nick Flatto, the audience surrounds the small square performance space. Whiplash costume changes shock the senses,and punctuate hilarious choreography wrapped in some serious ballet moves by Ashley Marinelli. The horror of it all is embedded in the high-energy score.
A youthful "je ne sais quoi" feeds the tightly scripted parody that does not fail to raise everyone's spirits at Playhouse 46.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis