POSEIDON! AN UPSIDE-DOWN MUSICAL
nytheatre.com review by Lee Ramsey
Parody is extremely difficult to do well,
especially when your subject matter is something as well known as the
grandfather of all disaster films, The Poseidon Adventure. Poseidon!
An Upside Down Musical comes to NYC from Chicago where, according to
the press release, it has been playing for a long time to sold out
audiences and has been extended twice. That said, I wonder why the
production is so sloppy and unwieldy. It comes across like a quickly
thrown together high school play. The humor for the most part is just
sophomoric rather than clever. And it's just too long.
August 15, 2003
You all know the storyline. Luxury liner Poseidon is hit by an enormous tidal wave on New Year's Eve, it turns upside down, and a handful of colorful passengers must make their way through the capsized hull to a location above sea level to be rescued. That seems like enough material for ten parodies right there, but Hell In A Handbag Productions feels the need to add a lame framing device to the mix. Several "Poseidonites" (fans of the film) have gathered in costume (Too Tan Lady, Indian Lady, etc.) for a thirtieth anniversary party to watch the movie and reminisce about their personal Poseidon experiences.
In the actual Poseidon parody there are several nice performances amidst the mayhem. Joshua Campbell is absolutely wonderful as Robin Shelby (the Eric Shea character); he totally understands what the style of the piece should be, is full of energy and has a lovely singing voice. When Campbell is onstage the production truly rises to a higher level. There is also very nice work from Molly Faithe as Linda Rogo, the Stella Stevens character; Jennifer Connelly as Reverend Scott, the Gene Hackman character; Ed Jones as Nonnie, the Carol Lynley character; and Michael Miller, doing a dead-on imitation of Jack Albertson.
I would also be remiss not to point out a very strong performance from one of the chorus members who appears in the Poseidonite section. (Unfortunately I can’t tell from the program what her name is, so hopefully someone will write in and tell us.) She performs her monologue about meeting Red Buttons beautifully and is fantastic in the opening sequence in a brief stint as a fan dressed as Belle Rosen, the Shelley Winters character. If the producers had been smart they'd have used her more and had her play the Shelley Winters role in the actual Poseidon parody. She's a real asset to this rather disappointing production. (Her name is Lori Lee, from Chicago)