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HCC Actor’s Guild Silver Scream

By • Nov 11th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Silver Scream
HCC Actor’s Guild, Bel Air, MD
HCC-Chesapeake Theater
Through November 11th
1:50 with intermission
$12/$8 Youth, Seniors, HSS Students
Reviewed November 9th, 2012

Silver Scream has a great concept. Two young boys, Toby (Josh Kradz) and George (Vince Kalwa), along with Toby’s sister Shelly (Nicolette LeFaye) and the theatre manager Friedkin (Ben Fisler) are sucked into the movie screen and travel through B-Horror Movies of the distant and recent past. They go from silent film to Technicolor. They encounter Nosferatu, Kong, Mr. Hyde, the Wolfman, Norman Bates and his “mom,” and Leatherface to name a few. Each movie is represented by a catchy and creative song. The Antagonist is “The Count,” and amalgamation of Dracula and his portrayer, Bela Lugosi (JimmyO Burril). This particular production brings success to many of the aspects needed to make the concept work: stunning sets, lighting, and costumes and excellent staging and choreography. However, there are a few major pitfalls that prevent it from being as good as it could be. With just a few changes, this is the type of original work that could be widely, successfully produced and develop a national cult following.

One major positive of this production was most of the technical elements. The costumes were all in black-and-white prior to the move to Technicolor. The set was black-and-white, and the performers were painted black-and-white. The effect was excellent. The costumes were also unique and àpropos for each film that they represented. The set was visually stunning and intricate and worked well as a flexible setting for all the various films. The lighting was excellent and created a strong transition to Technicolor. The only technical problem was the sound. There were many issues throughout the night with microphones not working well or at all. The background music was very loud, so even though some performers really seemed to be projecting, it still did not create enough sound to understand the words to some of the songs.

Another major positive was Vince Kalwa. His George was one of the real highlights of the show. He brought a lot of genuine comedy and heart to his role. In general, the ensemble was also strong. They brought high-energy and precision to the numbers. Since the staging and choreography was interesting and strong, there was a general aesthetic to the entire visual of the show.

However, aesthetic is not everything. The perfect example of that lies in the largest downfall of the show: Nicolette LeFaye. Despite looking perfect for the role and dancing exceptionally, especially when elegantly on pointe in “Pure Evil,” she did not have the acting or vocal strength to play the role that is really the lynchpin of the performance. She seemed inauthentic in her reactions, and she was often flat and just generally had an uninteresting tone quality.

Many of the other leads were inconsistent as well. Josh Kradz was sometimes an ok straight man, but he was other times too flat or hard to understand. Ben Fisler had a nice voice and his acting was extremely over-the-top. At moments, like as Norman Bates’ mother, this worked and had a humorous B-movie effect, but most of the time, it was annoying and just too much. Fisler, Kradz, and Lefaye combined consisted of such a large portion of the story of the show that it lacked heart. It was impossible to invest in these characters or their experiences, regardless of how vocally catchy and visually beautiful the rest of the show was.

JimmyO Burril’s Count was problematic. The antagonist of the show and also the source of most of the dialogue and humor, this is a truly pivotal role. Burril has charisma and likeability, and there were moments where he really it the mark: the dialogue was witty, the moment was cute, and the delivery showed good timing. The problems, I believe, were a result of the progressive changes that have been made to the script.

I was in two productions of the show in the late 1990s and have seen it performed one other time between now and then, so I have seen that the script has been a fluid and changing progression. Originally, the show was much more family friendly and the PG-rating that it still claims to carry was more accurate. When The Count says a curse word once, it is funny, because it is out-of-place. In general, there was a lot more humor, heart, and character development in earlier incarnations of The Count. Now, with a constant stream of language and sexual innuendos, much of the wit seems lost in a constant push of the envelope. Most of the remaining, really funny moments are the clean ones.

This a visually stunning show with great songs and a great concept. It is more than worth seeing more of this show; however, it would be nice to see the script return more to its roots and to see a stronger cast of actors in the pivotal, lead roles of Shelly, Friedkin, and Toby.

Photo Gallery

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Photo 7 Photo 8

Photos provided by Forbidden Pictures

Cast

  • Nicolette LeFaye, JimmyO Burril, April Burril, Vince Kalwa, Josh Kradz, James Watkins, Sean Silence, Jess Langley, Farren Arendse, Andie Cappelletti, Sierra Laken, Kristin (Gaga) Dipeso, Casey Simmons, Katoe Gordon, Madeleine Favazza, Danielle Liggens, Jess Hutchinson, Lukcy Charms, Carrie Dorman, Jonathan Spivey, Josh Flemming, Kelleigh Pangratz, Ben Hill, Will Martin, Jason Edwards, Ashley Crowl, Stephanie Januskwitz, Danice Fernandez, Jackie Cast, Joanna DiPaola, Willow Burril, Lilli Burril, Nate Gordon

Production Staff

  • Written by JimmyO Burril
  • Original Music by James M. Taylor
  • Director: JimmyO Burril
  • Musical Direction and Choreography: Katie Gordon
  • Producer: Ben Fisler
  • Stage Management/Props/Technical Direction: Trevor Winter
  • Additional Stage Management: Sarah Tweed
  • Additional Direction: Sam Wiitala
  • Carpentry: Christopher Townsend
  • Lighting Design: Bill Price
  • Light Board: Brad Mascari
  • Followspot: Ryan Kicklighter and Devin Metz
  • Wash Assistance: Nick Elliot
  • Projection Operators: Josh Hutchinson
  • Costume Design: Gaylynn Price and April Burril
  • Additional Costume Design: Linda Bratcher
  • Sound: Joey Russo
  • Backstage Management: Lilli Burril
  • Backstage Assistance: Kelsey Yurek and Pat Posadas
  • Makeup: Rio Lacour, Victor Accord, Jordan Wyandt, and John Terebetsky
  • Production Assistance by Students in Theatre Workshop I, II, and III

Disclaimer: Forbidden Pictures/HCC Actor’s Guild provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.

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