Ride the Cyclone, currently playing at the Jungle Theater, is a magical show, unlike anything I have ever seen before.
The show is about dead children - except those dead children are the main characters. A choir group from a small town in Saskatchewan, they die on a roller coaster and find themself in a contest emceed by a fortune telling machine - the winning prize - the chance the return to the living. The teenagers plead their case in musical numbers ranging in title from "Noel's Lament" to "Space Aged Bachelor Man".
The Jungle is consistent at putting on strong ensemble lead shows and Ride the Cyclone no exception. All of the characters portrayed all start off as a bit cartoonish - outlines of different stereotypes but throughout the show they are fleshed out into full real people who you all wish could have a second chance at life.
Becca Hart plays Jane Doe, a headless girl found at the scene of the accident that no one knows the identity of including herself. Her movement on stage is a haunting, like that of a broken doll but paired with her beautiful soprano it is quite a thing to watch. Shinah Brashears plays Ocean - a goody two shoes so well that you can't help but hate her sickeningly sweet demeanor. Gabrielle Dominique pays Constance, her character is the most fun to watch transform over the length of the show and her flute solo was a perfect nod to Lizzo.
Michael Hanna plays Misha, a Ukrainian refugee, Hanna captures the balance between his rough exterior and his heart of gold. Jordan M. Leggett plays Ricky - and his number "Space Aged Bachelor Man" was wacky and full of Prince like energy. Josh Zwick plays Noah - a young gay man who feels trapped in his small town, whose musical pleading for another chance at life was both funny and sad and will be a treat for anyone who is a fan of the musical Cabaret. Jim Lichtscheidl as the Amazing Karnak was uncanny as a fortune telling machine, he also did the fun and genre bending choreography that runs through the show.
The scenic design by Chelsea M Warren is a feast for the eyes. It is theater meets a fun house. Portraying the joy of am amusement part but laced with some darkness and gloom, while at the same time also giving the feel of a vaudeville stage.
Ride the Cyclone is a feast for all senses, and is a great show for anyone who is a fan or Tim Burton. The show is playing at the Jungle Theater until October 20th. Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets.
*Photo Credit: Dan Norman