Sometimes, love is like a labyrinth; confusing, frightening, and impossible to escape. When a pseudo-Australian demi-goddess on roller-skates loses her heart to a starving graffiti artist with dreams of creative immortality, they will have to overcome a veritable Pandora's box of obstacles to be together. Can their love triumph over such a Herculean task? It's all Greek to me! George Mason High School amused the audience with a romance of mythological proportions in their inspiring production of “Xanadu.”
“Xanadu” is a 2007 musical with music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, and book by Douglas Carter Beane, based on the eponymous 1980 film which gained a cult following despite initial commercial failure. It is the story of the muse Clio, who comes to 1980s Los Angeles disguised as the mortal Kira, sporting leg-warmers, skates, and an Australian accent. Her task: to encourage Sonny Malone to pursue his fantasy of opening a roller disco. However, when Clio's jealous sisters craft a plan to ensure her banishment from Olympus, she finds herself cursed with an ardent affection that can only be fully expressed through one medium: 1980s pop music.
The ensemble embraced the delightfully hokey ridiculousness of “Xanadu” whole-heartedly, imbuing the show with an infectious feeling of pure fun. Although their actual technique was somewhat inconsistent, the cast as a whole built the show's energy with laudable enthusiasm in their dance numbers which culminated in a boisterous conclusion.
In the lead role of Kira, Sophie DeLeo was a genuinely sweet delight. She glided about the stage on her roller-skates with impressive skill and panache, and anchored a cast full of superb vocalists with a melodious tone which befitted her identity as a muse. Kira's partner in affairs of art and the heart, Sonny Malone, was colorfully portrayed by Rand Walter. Walter utilized his lanky frame to draw laughs out of the audience through his hysterical physicality, and many of the show's most entertaining moments could be chalked up to his vibrant performance.
The supporting cast was graced with sublime comedic timing which manifested itself in a plethora of uproarious characters. Danny (Alex Warren), a real estate mogul burning with a secret lost love, was especially memorable for his abounding commitment to his role. Even when he was not the focus of a scene, Warren was fully, and often hilariously, in character, particularly in some priceless secondary dance sequences which mirrored the central action onstage. The scheming muse sisters Calliope (Lilly Constance) and Melpemone (Kiki Skotte) endowed their characters with bewitchingly delightful malevolence. Constance's side-splitting delivery of her lines was spot-on, and Skotte was blessed with a mellifluously resonant voice which was on stunning display in such numbers as the exquisite "Evil Woman."
The tech crews did a tremendous job enhancing the spirit of “Xanadu” in their work. The sound crew handled the show's myriad microphones without a hitch, and the orchestra was nothing short of fantastic, executing a diverse array of musical styles with chameleon-like dexterity. The set crew brought the world of 1980s Venice Beach to life with resplendent hues and gorgeously vivid set paintings which complimented the exuberance of the show beautifully.
The Fates work in mysterious ways, particularly in matters of true love. When two people are cursed to complete each other, their celestial rapture can transcend all boundaries and fill their lives with ambrosial delight (and maybe a roller disco or two). George Mason High School created such a romance in a thrillingly effervescent fashion in their divine production of “Xanadu.”