Regional Reviews: Phoenix
Director Shaun Michael McNamara's adaptation uses the major characters and plot device from the first film in the series but also adds in some characters from the sequels, as well as a few cameos of characters from other horror films such as Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The basic plot focuses on a group of teenagers who are preparing to open up Camp Crystal Lake for the season while the killer Jason Voorhees and his mother (well, actually her decapitated head) wreak havoc on the teens, killing them in an assortment of horrific ways.
McNamara has incorporated more than a dozen classic musical theatre songs into the show with parody lyrics for each one that add some fun moments, like the opening song from Hamilton rewritten as an introduction for the killer Jason, and the hockey mask-wearing slasher doing a humorous soft shoe to "Puttin' on the Ritz. However, some of the lyrics are forced into the songs and are occasionally hard to make out due to the fast-paced nature of some of the songs and the uneven sound balance. In a plot in which the counselors are killed off one after another, there is also a repetition that starts to wear thin after a while, though McNamara does incorporate some humorous ways for Jason to kill them off that are reminiscent of what is seen in the films. Even though there are a few moments that don't quite land, the show is fairly fast paced with plenty of funny moments.
The large cast almost all play multiple parts and are pretty good singers, with McNamara doing a great job with a speedy take-off of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" from The Pirates of Penzance and Laura Anne Kenney delivering a powerful knockoff of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls. The entire cast create individual characters and are quite proficient with their puppeteering skills. McNamara is also keen at adlibbing which, on opening night, added some very funny moments to the show.
The set, which consists of three large, realistic looking trees reused from Mesa Encore Theatre's recent production of Into the Woods, and Brett Aiken's lighting design provide some excellent touches to the production, giving the whole show a very spooky and atmospheric feel. McNamara's sound design, which uses bits of the film score and a few other humorous pieces, adds to the scary, but also hilarious, nature.
Friday the 13th, the Parody Musical may have a few jokes or moments that only elicit chuckles or don't completely land, but with the added musical sequences and the impressive creative elements, it makes for a fun and funny update of the classic horror franchise that both fans of the film or musical theatre will most likely find to be very amusing.
Friday the 13th, the Parody Musical runs through October 26, 2019, at All Puppet Players, Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix AZ. For tickets and information, visit www.allpuppetplayers.com or call 602-254-2151
Director/ Adaptation / Sound Design: Shaun Michael McNamara