Ride the re-tooled Cyclone

Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell's Ride the Cyclone is a creepy good time

Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell’s Ride the Cyclone is a creepy good time

By all means, go see Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride the Cyclone—especially if you haven’t see it before. There’s lots to like here, notably the ravishingly talented cast and the crazy originality of Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell’s musical.

That said, I think it’s worth exploring why I enjoyed the show more the first time I saw it.

Partly, that’s because, in 2011, I was a Cyclone virgin; I had no idea what was about to hit me.

The show was also in a smaller venue the first time around—the Arts Club’s Revue Stage, as opposed to the Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage, where it is now. In the smaller space, I felt more connected to the performers, more overwhelmed by the force of their personalities and their voices. And, since Cyclone is, on one level, a celebration of eccentric personality, that matters.

Influenced by producers, Richmond, who wrote the book—and is still writing the book, I guess—has attempted to create more of a narrative through line t his time around. Theoretically, that seems like a good idea. But, in this version of the show at least, the narrative framing slows the show down in the beginning, and the ending doesn’t make sense.

On the plus side, Jameson Parker has joined the show for this run and he’s a wonderful addition. Parker plays Misha, a Ukranian rapper, with deliciously over-the-top Slavic intensity. Misha’s material has also been rewritten and vastly improved.

Bottom line: the new narrative ain’t workin’—at least not for me. But you’ve still got to love this cast and the twisted conception of the piece.

For another point of view, check out Andrea Warner’s review in the Straight: http://www.straight.com/arts/345066/ride-cyclone-quintessential-modern-musical.

And, if you really want to do your research, check out my review of the 2011 mounting here: http://www.straight.com/arts/ride-cyclone-theatrically-dazzling


About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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