North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theatre
7713-51 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh
Through Sept. 21
As if putting on a full-scale musical theater production weren’t hard enough, playwright Douglas Carter Beane demanded the whole thing be put on roller skates in XANADU, his Broadway adaptation of Olivia Newton-John’s disastrous disco film from 1980. Under James Ilsley’s direction, this revival celebrates the cheesier moments of the 1970s, as music director Michael Santangelo coaxes out multi-part harmonies to a pre-recorded soundtrack from Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra.
Veteran Rose Higgins camps it up as villain Melpomene on “Evil Woman.” Though a sparkling Lauren Knott as Clio and an older Brian Westbrook as Sonny scored on the Newton-John/Andy Gibb hit, “Suddenly,” they weren’t always as strong-voiced in other numbers. Dan Mason supported well as a real-estate agent with rekindling artistic desires in the season’s guiltiest pleasure so far.
This article appeared in print with the headline “The soul of wit”