Review by Lauryn Angel
When I was asked if I wanted to see a musical based on the first book in the Percy Jackson series, I felt more than a little trepidation. A musical based on The Lightning Thief? This could go very wrong or very right. I felt like taking a gamble, so I said yes.
My first concern was that this production would take the direction of A Very Potter Musical, which I could not get through. Interestingly, however, The Lightning Thief does take that snarky, campy direction, but I absolutely loved it. I don’t think I stopped laughing during the show.
If you’re familiar with Rick Riordan’s first Percy Jackson novel, then you know the story. For the uninitiated, Percy Jackson (Chris McCarrell) is the only child of a single mother, Sally (Jalynn Steele). He’s been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, and has an all-around tough time at school. When he gets kicked out of his sixth school, his mother decides it’s time for him to learn the truth – he’s a demi-god. Soon enough, Percy ends up at Camp Half-Blood, where he discovers his best friend, Grover (Jorrel Javier) isn’t entirely human either. Under the guidance of Chiron the centaur (Ryan Knowles), Percy soon finds himself on a quest, accompanied by Grover – who is revealed to be a satyr – and Annabeth (Kristin Stokes), the daughter of Athena. Hilarious hijinks ensue.
One of the things I really loved about this production is how inventive the props are. There are shields that are clearly repurposed pizza pans, and the use of toilet paper to represent torrents of water is as inventive as it is hilarious. Just as clever is the use of the cast. A cast of just seven actors means some of them have to take multiple roles, with uproarious results. Jorrel Javier admirably vacillates between the roles of Grover and Camp Half-Blood’s director, Mr. D. The other stand out in this regard is Ryan Knowles, who plays Chiron and . . . others – trust me when I say it’s best you don’t know beforehand.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Percy Jackson or new to the story, is sure to entertain!
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