But buried in all this history—and Mr. Bauer’s pretty and sweet melodies (and forgettable lyrics)—the characters never manage to become real, emotionally resonant people. That’s the big problem here, and despite Will Pomerantz’s effectively stylized direction, Chase Brock’s busy choreography, and a top-notch cast, it’s almost impossible to become invested in all this unhappy history.
And it is unhappy history, the first half of the 20th century. But we know that even without The Blue Flower.
It feels odd to call a cannibalistic serial killer charming, but, of course, that’s what makes Hannibal Lecter such a great character. It’s also true of Silence! The Musical, a campy spoof of The Silence of the Lambs that’s been kicking around downtown theater companies for a few years and opened last night in its latest run, at PS122. This offbeat take on Dr. Lecter and Clarice Starling, the FBI trainee seeking his help to stop another killer, is silly, sophomoric and as charming as its Chianti-loving antihero.
With songs by the brothers Jon and Al Kaplan, who came up with the idea, a book by Hunter Bell, of [title of show], and hilarious deadpan performances by Jenn Harris as Agent Starling and especially David Garrison as Hannibal, Silence!, cleverly directed by Christopher Gattelli, features singing, dancing lambs, self-serious FBI agents, and an actor portraying a helicopter. It is arguably the same joke extended for 90 minutes, but it’s a fun joke. And it’s a show that refuses to take itself at all seriously, which, in the end, kills.