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Head Over Heels

a Musical Comedy
by Jeff Whitty, the Go-Go’s

COMPANY : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
ID# 5539

SHOWING : July 17, 2019 - August 25, 2019



Direct from Broadway! If you want to be part of THE party of the summer, get thee to Actor’s Express for the hilarious, sexy Broadway hit "Head Over Heels," featuring the music of the iconic 80s band The Go-Go’s! Full of campy fun and romantic entanglements, this wildly entertaining musical romp follows the royal family of mythical Arcadia on a madcap journey to save their kingdom and follow their hearts. Featuring such beloved Go-Go’s hits as “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation” and Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You,” "Head Over Heels" will leave you laughing out loud and humming along!

Director Freddie Ashley
Gynecia Jennifer Acker
Musidorus Danny Crowe
Basilius Kevin Harry
Pamela Abby Holland
Ensemble Peyton McDaniel
Dametas Jeff McKerley
Ensemble Candice McLellan
Ensemble Joseph Jong Pendergrast
Pythio Trevor Perry
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Another Junkbox Musical
by playgoer
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
"Head Over Heels" marries songs by the Go-Go’s with the basic plotline of Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th century poem "The Arcadia," altered to present a modern embracing of all sorts of human sexuality. It’s a non-sensical mash-up, with the songs shoe-horned in willy-nilly, and with a couple of songs given to Philoclea (Emily Whitley) seemingly at odds with what we know of her character. But the random sprinkling of songs is sort of the point: the vacuous, repetitive songs act as a contrast to the sometimes dense language and antiquated tropes of Sidney’s original.

Freddie Ashley has directed a production that integrates all technical material into a superior product. Isaac Ramsey’s scenic design places classic pediments at either end of the long central playing space, surrounded by stylized clouds and foliage. Similar clouds appear behind each half of the audience. The stage floor is painted in a gouache-style wash simulating an ornate sundial. Ben Rawson’s lighting design lights the set to perfection and adds just the right amount of effects to enhance the production without overwhelming it.

April Andrew’s costumes use a generally Renaissance style for the protagonists, with gender-swapped outfits for the ensemble in a generally modern style The mish-mash works, particularly in conjunction with Kari Twyman’s splendid choreography, full of angular arm movements and non-stop activity. It helps that Actor’s Express has hired as ensemble members two of Atlanta’s finest dancers (Joseph Pendergrast and Peyton McDaniel) who rose to prominence at the Aurora Theatre, and a couple of additional fine dancers from Georgia Ensemble’s "Bullets Over Broadway" (Patrick Coleman and Paige McCormick).

Actor’s Express has pretty much raided Atlanta’s store of unabashed belt singers for the cast. Music director Alli Lingenfelter has the cast singing at full volume for most of the show. Jeremiah Davison’s sound design keeps the balance with the rock band pretty good throughout, although the pre-show recording of Freddie Ashley’s introduction has a tinny, echoey quality that augurs poorly for the show itself. Luckily, auguries don’t always turn out to be as dire as they might first appear (which sort of goes for the plot of the show itself).

Nick Battaglia’s props are fine and mirror the style of the production as a whole. Mr. Ashley is to be complimented for getting all elements of the show to work together so delightfully.

The cast really sell the show. This is a world in which any racial admixture of parents can produce a child of a dissimilar race, in which fat-shaming doesn’t exist, and in which sexuality is as fluid as the River Styx. Kevin Harry is his stentorian best as King Basilius and Jennifer Alice Acker is magnificent as his wife Gynecia. Abby Holland, as elder daughter Pamela, is a hoot of self-possession, while Emily Whitley, as her younger sister Philoclea, is sweet and endearing. Danny Crowe is the epitome of doing-anything-the-director-asks-of-him abandon as Philoclea’s suitor, and Trevor Perry uses his androgyny to full effect as Pythio. Jeff McKerley invests Dametas with his usual old-pro charm, and like the others has a powerful, true voice. Niki Badua, as his daughter, gets a little pitchy as she travels up to her big notes, but those she nails.

The most any production can do is to create a world of its own and keep the audience captive within that world for the running time of the show. "Head Over Heels" does that in spades. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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