Thursday, October 26, 2017

review- SIDE SHOW - Limelight Performing Arts

Jordan Sagy, Samantha Timothy, and Annabelle Skala
photo by Rob Padjen
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 29th.

"...even though Side Show didn't attract large audiences in New York, and while it is a challenging show, some adventurous theatre companies still choose to present it. Limelight Performing Arts' youth production of the revised version of the musical may be somewhat streamlined, but with two talented leads and a large ensemble it proves to be highly effective....based on the true story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton...started out performing in various sideshows in the 1930s, but after being discovered by a talent scout rose to playing vaudeville and even bigger venues...the musical is only partially accurate about the actual life of Daisy and Violet, adding fictionalized backstage drama and romantic relationships that the twins encounter along the way.......The show does a good job of portraying how these "freaks" of the sideshow, like the bearded lady, the tattooed man, and "Siamese" twins, are just like everyone else. The 2014 version of the musical includes more of the backstory of how the girls came to be working in a side show and also gives a few more details about the relationships they had with the men in their lives. However, some of the character motivations are still a bit stilted...while the majority of the score is superb, a few of the added changes for the revised version aren't quite on par with some of the songs that were cut. Limelight's cast features Samantha Timothy and Annabelle Skala as Violet and Daisy, and they both deliver excellent portrayals of these very different sisters with clear, bright and beautiful singing voices. They provide engaging and heartbreaking portrayals that make you want to protect them and root for their success. ...While not everyone in the cast has the rich singing abilities these two have, and a few cast members struggle to hold and hit the sustained high notes in a few of the numbers, Jordan Sagy is excellent as Jake, the African-American side show worker who is secretly in love with Violet. His deep, rich voice delivers some soaring notes and he paints a fine picture as the main protector of the girls....Director Jamie Bauer-Spano stages the entire show in a blank space with only the essence of a "big top" circus tent overhead...It may be simple but it works incredibly well....and provides a high level of energy and excitement. Emma England and Niki Gray's music direction delivers some lush tones from the large cast ...England and Cynthia Timothy's costumes, which are abundant, are exceptional, and when combined with England's detailed hair and make-up designs, create a wide range of realistic and superb "freaks." Side Show isn't a perfect show...but fortunately Emma England and Limelight like to add an off-beat show to their season each year and because of that, audiences in the Phoenix area can get a glimpse of the Side Show freaks in this excellent production.. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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