Theatre review: the Altar Boyz are back in town (and yes these cats are still crazy)

Just like Cher, the Altar Boyz return for yet another final performance as the Arts Club resurrects its 2009 hit musical at the Granville Island Revue Stage this summer.

Not much has changed since we last saw the boyz three years ago, as they once again fire up the “Soul Sensor DX-12” and set out to save the souls in the audience through music.  From 98 to zero (souls) in 90 minutes, the show flies by thanks to the talent and charisma that oozes from this cast.

Returning from the 2009 production are Jeremy Crittenden who returns to the role of de facto group leader Matthew, Jack Barradell as dim-witted Luke and Geoff Stevens trades in his yarmulke from 2009 for frosted tips as the sexually ambiguous Mark.  Triple-threats all, Crittenden’s smile will melt you, Barradell’s dance tricks will make you gasp, but it was Stevens’ amazing voice, among a quintet of amazing voices, that stole the show for me this year.

Joining this trio of Altar Boyz veterans is Michael Culp as Juan and Brandyn Eddy as Abraham.  Culp is particularly funny as the sexy Latino whose eyebrows (and hips) seem to have minds of their own and Eddy is charming as the ironic Jew among this group of Catholics.

The cast of the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Altar Boyz. Photo by David Cooper.
The cast of the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Altar Boyz. Photo by David Cooper.

The boyz attack Sara-Jeanne Hosie’s boy-band choreography with gusto and if memory serves, this year has even more tricks than three years ago.  The show’s four piece band, led by musical director Jim Hodgkinson, is tight.

A relatively lightweight satire about religion, Altar Boyz’ biggest strength comes from its cast and this cast delivers.  So spread the word around, the boyz are back in town (and yes these cats are still crazy)!

3 1/2 of 5 Stars Altar Boyz

Book by Kevin Del Aguila. Music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker. Conceived by Marc Kessler and Ken Davenport. Directed by Bill Millerd. Musical direction by Jim Hodgkinson. On stage at the Arts Club Revue Stage on Granville Island through September 1, 2012. Visit http://artsclub.com for tickets and information.

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