Universal Hollywood hits its mark with grown-up 'Creature from the Black Lagoon'
Written by Robert Niles
Universal Studios Hollywood is trashing industry convention with Creature from the Black Lagoon, staging a raucous Broadway-quality musical that revels in adult humor.Tweet
This isn't a show for the kiddies. Universal dusted off one of its classic monster franchises and brought it back to life with a fresh musical adaptation, one that's equal parts silly, sexy and snarky.
If you're not familiar with the 1954 horror classic, USH's 25-minute live show riffs off the same plot - an expedition travels to the Amazon, where a comely young scientist becomes the target for the eponymous creature. Except that this time, in a twist straight out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, our lustful young lady lead is as hot for the Creature as he is for her.
Listen carefully to the lyrics, as Universal Creative's packed the show with silly pop culture references and sharp R-rated puns, the best of which I don't dare repeat here but that had me laughing loudly, as much at Universal's audacity for trying them as for the jokes themselves.
Visually, "Creature" delights, with choreography from Lynne Taylor-Corbett, a film veteran who also choreographed the Aladdin show at Disney's California Adventure. "Creature" makes full use of modern stagecraft, launching its leads above the audience for a stunning mid-air recreation of the film's swim sequence. A towering puppet also plays a role, slyly controlled by several puppeteers.
The cast, as usual for Universal Studios Hollywood, gives its all, but with a delightful script and original score to play with, they deliver a far more entertaining show than the Castle Theater's seen in years.
Some parents might complain, but I say it's about time that a theme park tried to extend its range. The jokes here would seem tame in any comedy club, but for a theme park, they are risque. (Universal promises warnings outside and inside the theater, advising parents of the adult content within.) Many theme park shows have played two-level jokes before, with a double entendre aimed at keeping the parents in the audience as amused as their kids. "Creature" dumps the kiddie level, and aims its gags straight at the grown-ups.
"Creature" hits its mark.
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