Review: ‘Lizard Boy the Musical’ at Diversionary Theatre
LIZARD BOY THE MUSICAL is a unique and creative musical that fits the pop culture time that we live in. In a world where comics inspire movie blockbusters and HAMILTON seems to have reminded people that musical theatre can be current and innovative, LIZARD BOY is the musical that we both want and deserve. This sweet and funny musical is playing at the Diversionary Theatre through October 30th.
For some people the day that changed their life is their wedding day, birth of a child, or the day that radioactive spider bit them. For Trevor his day is when Mount Saint Helen’s erupted, letting a dragon on the loose, and him getting drenched in its blood before it was finally killed. But as anyone knows, the real adventure is what happens after that life changing moment.
The aftermath of this incident is that Trevor, Justin Huertas, now has green scaly skin, and he decides that he’s better off as a hermit since the world seems to be unable to accept him and look beyond the scales to the human behind them. There is one evening that he can dare venture out, the anniversary of the eruption, when a costume party allows him to go out without questions. So with the help of the Grindr app, Trevor goes out into the real world where he meets Cary, William A. Williams, a new resident to Seattle. Their date brings them to the Crocodile Club where they see singer Siren, Kristen delohr Helland, who happens to have been haunting Trevor’s dreams. As the evening and the dangers escalate, Trevor finds himself having to battle a villain, try to stop the end of the world, and maybe most difficult of all, decide if he’s ready for a relationship or not.
As Trevor, Huertas is endearing as this geeky outsider who has some insecurities, but also wants to find a place in the world where he can be accepted. Williams’ Cary is an adorable, dorky, if slightly desperate transplant, with no friends and a desire for real connection. Helland gives Siren an edgy confidence and weariness with a slightly sinister edge, that makes her a nice counterpoint to the timid optimism of Trevor and Cary .
The music is really what shines, as this cast of three performs all of the instrumentation on stage with everything from a cello to a kazoo. Huertas wrote the book, music, and lyrics, and his songs are lyrical, funny, and have a modern feeling to them without feeling like they can’t translate well when pop music tastes change. Some stand out songs include “Cary’s Song” an adorable guitar solo song where he tries to convince Trevor to come back to his apartment after their first meeting not going so well. How can you resist someone who offers to put back on pants as an incentive? Trevor’s “Another Part of Me” is used to great effect as a time split staging as he simultaneously sings it to Cary and Siren at different times of that night. All those unusual instruments and tight harmonies really shine in “Recess” as the kazoo, ukulele and the bells really evoke that creative musical play of kids that age.
The cello adds great depth to this music, and really makes this score soar. Apparently it is also useful as a weapon near the end during an remarkably inventive staged musical battle scene (yes, you read that correctly).
Directed by Brandon Ivie, this tightly paced one act has no wasted moments or songs to allow it to lose momentum or get distracted. Everything they do is inventive, fun to watch, to hear, and is highly engaging. The set is mostly bare to allow for the movement of the actors, but gets some colorful comic book inspiration by the projections on the backdrop.
If you took snap shots of the show, it would read like a comic book with some extra theatrical flair. What else would you expect from a show with a main character that has pictures of Storm from the X-Men and Jinkx Monsoon in his room?
This is the comic book hero musical that SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK tried to be. It’s cheeky and irreverent, but with plenty of heart. It is this kind of inventive theatre that needs to go to New York and take the theatre world by storm. You don’t need to be a fan of pop culture nerdiness to fall for this story, but if you are then this musical is an extra delight.
Run, jump, swing from a web, fly in your invisible jet, or whatever you have to do to see this show! Take your friends, and when you do call me, I want to see it again as many times as possible.
LIZARD BOY THE MUSICAL is playing at the Diversionary Theatre through October 30th. For show time and ticket information go to www.Diversionary.org