Theatre ó Sideshow slips sideways

Sideshow slips sideways

By Michelle Saturley

Leads strong, set pretty flimsy


Music and Drama Companyís production of the musical Sideshow, a true story of conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, is an uneven affair but the two young actresses who portray the sisters are commendable.

A few issues that were difficult to overlook marred the production. The set simply didnít match the quality of past sets by MadCo. It looked as though it was made out of taped-together cardboard, and its starkness didnít do much to capture the carnival scenes or the vaudeville scenes. When the actors were climbing around on set pieces, I was actually afraid for their safety at times.

The chorus was vocally strong but a noticeable inequity in dance ability among the ensemble made the choreography hard to pull off. Perhaps a better choice would have been to scale back the choreography or scale down the number of dancers.

Richard Bennett, who plays the Boss of the sideshow, had some trouble with his solo parts during his songs. Though Bennett showed energy while pacing the stage, and a basic understanding of his character, he often used an affected, growly vocal style that made it difficult to understand songs.

Paul Lussier, who plays Jake, a carnie who protects the girls from the Boss and harbors deep feelings for Violet, seemed a little out of his depth. Lussier is unable to forge any chemistry with Violet throughout the first act of the show, so when he declares his love for her, it doesnít ring true. Lussier also struggles with the admittedly demanding vocals of his big song in the second act.

The highlight of this show for me was watching Lauren Cassidy and Holly Laurent, the two actresses who play Daisy and Violet. They have been well cast and they capture the sweet, naÔve side of the women, making the audience root for them. They move well together and their voices blended perfectly.

Laurent plays the sassier sister, Daisy, with total abandon. She is a real treat to watch, and I wouldnít be surprised if this talented young actress makes a career out of musical theater. Not only is she an incredible vocalist, but she is a solid actress .

Also turning in satisfactory performances were Josh Dennis as Terry, a Vaudeville talent scout, and Michael OíKeefe as Buddy, his partner who teaches the girls how to sing and dance. Overall, I give Sideshow a marginal recommendation based on the strong performances of the two lead actresses. Perhaps the supporting players will gain more confidence with a second week of performances.

MadCo.ís production of Sideshow will run one more weekend, April 28-30, at the Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry. For more information, visit

-Michelle Saturley

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