Xanadu – Arts Club – Theatre Review

Photo by David Cooper

Xanadu is a fun, campy and hilariously entertaining musical where ancient Greek muses, roller skates and disco balls coexist. The Arts Club production of this film to Broadway adaptation has definitely kept the audience laughing and singing from start to finish. From a great talented cast to a well-written screenplay filled with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour, Xanadu is a must-see production this summer.

Set in Venice Beach in the 80’s, brooding artist Sunny Malone decided to end his life for lack of artistic expression. Coming to his rescue, Clio, one of the nine ancient Greek muses decided to make him her little project with hopes to achieve Xanadu by inspiring Sunny to pursue his dream and to create something great. Disguising herself as a roller-skating Aussie named Kira, Clio encourages Sunny to open a roller disco with the help of business tycoon named Danny Maguire. Armed with her supportive sisters except for Melpomene, the muse of tragedy and Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, Clio did more than inspire Sunny as he professed his love for her.  Clio’s two scheming sisters who were jealous of her little endeavor, cursed her to return Sunny’s love and ultimately, violating the rules of human-muse interaction.

The Arts Club brought this cult classic on stage with even more funny bits and moments as it welcomed the audience to the romantic fantasy world of Xanadu. Marlie Collins as Kira and Gaelen Beatty who portrayed Sunny captured the audience with their singing prowess and good acting skills and together, both showed chemistry that’s worth watching. The sisters/muses were such a joy to watch and provided a lot of laughter to the show. It’s hard not to miss J. Cameron Barnett playing Terpsichore, the muse of dance and dramatic chorus, he was the funniest and the most enjoyable to watch.  The two scheming muses played by Beatrice Zeilinger and Bonnie Panych topped with their comical singing antics were also a couple of standout performances. The cast of Xanadu was just multi-talented. From acting to singing to dancing with roller skates, all of them showed remarkable abilities on stage.

Xanadu will also take you back to the period of bad fashion, big hair and arena rock as it brings you hit songs such as “Suddenly”, “Strange Magic” and “Xanadu”. Hearing these songs on stage will surely hit you with a huge wave of 80’s nostalgia. You have to hand it to the musicians as well who performed on this show as they did a great job backing up the cast and reliving this era of decadence with music. Production-wise, Xanadu’s set was simple which lets you focus more on the acting and singing but the costumes gave the actors a little something extra to work with. Xanadu’s version of Medusa, Cyclops and the Centaur just added more to the hilarity of the show.

If you haven’t seen this ridiculously enjoyable musical, it’s time to head out to the Granville Island Stage, purchase a ticket and prepare yourself for a couple of hours of pure fun.  If you don’t end up believing in magic after watching Xanadu, I guarantee, you will end up giving the cast a standing ovation.

Gian Karla Limcangco

Gian Karla Limcangco