Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fringe Festival: "Top Gun: The Musical"

Day: 8

Show: 26

Category: Musical theater

By: Rooftop Theatre Company

Created by: Wick, Newstrom, Bowlsby, Dutton

Location: Illusion Theater

Summary: A tongue-in-cheek musical adaptation of the hit '80s movie Top Gun.

Highlights: I hereby declare that all movie-to-musical adaptations should be intentionally cheesy Fringe musicals like this one, not overly sincere big budget Broadway musicals. The idea of turning any movie, Top Gun in particular, into a stage musical is so silly that you have to make fun of it. And they do. The eight-person cast gamely jumps right into Tim Wick's adaptation that hits all the high (and low) points in the movie, and particularly delights in playing up the latent homo-eroticism of the original. Windy Bowlsby's choreography is fun and has the guys flying around the stage holding hands, the costumes are spot-on, complete with aviator glasses and period mustaches, and there's some pretty awesome upside-down flying equipment. Songs include "Gotta Get Into Top Gun," "You Don't Impress Me," "Take Me to Bed or Lose Me Forever," "Ego Checks" (a running gag referring to the line "your ego is writing checks your body can't cash"), and a ridiculously over-the-top volleyball number (gold lame underwear!). Samuel Poppen is a charming goofball as Maverick, Jacob Effinger has a bit of Christian Borle zaniness as Goose, Maverick's doomed wingman, Chris Hoefer has the right look as Maverick's rival/love interest Iceman, and Chris Bowlsby has a surprisingly lovely voice as Goose's wife. This is a fun and silly show that doesn't take itself too seriously, and the audience has as much fun as the cast. And I do appreciate that the obligatory "please review our show" is sung.