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Arts & Culture

Substance-less style drawn out in 1970s flashback Xanadu

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The cast of San Pedro Playhouse’s Xanadu.


Rodriguez also serves as director, and a certainly sluggishness weighs down the production; when I caught Xanadu in NYC (and on tour), it ran a zippy 95 minutes with no intermission. Here, it’s performed in two acts, which slows the momentum; the opening of the second act seems misplaced and unnecessary. The production works best when it finds a groove in the admittedly slight story. The score (largely composed by Jeff Lynne, of the Electric Light Orchestra) boasts a number of familiar, enjoyable tunes, including the barn-raising (or, rather, discotheque-raising) number “All Over the World.” Clearly, the evening’s climax is a goofy rendition of the deliriously dopey “Have You Never Been Mellow,” in which costume designer Kathrine Johnson demonstrates that there’s more to over-the-top ’80s campiness than just hideous tube socks. (And here’s a tip of the sweatband as well to set designer Alfry Valdez for a trip to Olympus on a Pegasus. A neat effect.)

I honestly appreciate that the Playhouse took a chance on something new and oh-so-gay — I mean, next up are A Christmas Carol and Oklahoma, which are neither. (Well, OK, maybe “I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No.” And Dream Curly.) But compared to the Playhouse’s send-up of ’90s boy bands a few years back (Altar Boyz), Xanadu is a mixed-bag that could use more magic. •

 

Xanadu

$15-$25
Fri & Sat 8pm,
Sun 2:30pm
Russell Hill Rogers Theater
800 W Ashby
(210) 733-7258
sanpedroplayhouse.com
Through Oct 23

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