Some musicals are meant to make you laugh, some make you cry and some are made just so you can have fun. Xanadu is the latter; adapted from the preposterous and utterly strange 1980’s cult classic movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly. To prepare myself for DOMA Theatre Company‘s latest production, I suffered through the 90 minutes of bizarre non-sense that is the movie. Luckily the stage version is immensely more entertaining than the movie, because it take parts of the movie and presents it as a completely ridiculous comedy whilst poking fun at the era it was born out of.
Featuring some fantastic ’80’s classic music, appropriately psychedelic costumes, actors who fit their roles perfectly and very witty dialogue, Xanadu is quite an entertaining evening. DOMA has not always received great reviews from me, but I am pleased to say that this time they have delivered something I highly recommend. It is not a dose of normal musical theater, and a thorough story with beautiful musical numbers is not what Xanadu is about.
Xanadu is the story of Clio (Lovlee Carroll), one of the 9 daughters of Zeus who is a muse sent to inspire Sonny Malone (Matt O’Neill). Sonny is a typical Venice, CA surfer dude who wants to be a painter but has no idea how to do that. Clio goes undercover as an Australian roller skater named Kira, and brings Sonny together with someone she had been a muse to some 40 years earlier, Danny Maguire (David Michael Trevino) in order to open up a roller disco. (How VERY ’80’s). Throughout the show, Clio’s sisters, two of them played to FAB-ulous hilarity by Alan Lee and Bradley Sattler, weave in and out helping and hindering her progress.
The plot itself is pretty absurd and not to be taken very seriously by the audience or the cast. Ultimately what you need to know about this show is – it is a fun musical and DOMA is having a ball with it. Under the direction of Hallie Baran, the actors are playing it to the extreme and it works. Xanadu is not a musical you go to for phenomenal voices, though Trevino and Carroll do have them. Nor is the dancing out of this world, though Lee’s high kicks and constant splits are no less than incredible. The skating is fun, the music will get you moving and the lines coupled with the comedic timing of the cast will give you plenty to laugh about.
Xanadu is one of DOMA‘s best productions and it plays at the MET Theatre in Hollywood Friday through Sunday until October 7th.