"Silence! The Musical" isn't Minneapolis Musical Theatre's first foray into cannibalism (that honor goes to 2014's "Eating Raoul"), but it may be the most audacious. There's just something wildly discombobulating about the combination of Hannibal Lecter and jazz hands.
This musical parody, co-produced by Steven Meerdink's Bitter Boy Productions, offers a sly version of the 1991 movie "The Silence of the Lambs," complete with a singing and dancing chorus of lambs, some really vulgar musical numbers and FBI agent Clarice Starling, who has a king-size lisp. Meerdink's effervescent direction, uniformly strong performances and the sheer comic effect of juxtaposing lovely music and high-kicking chorines with obscenity-laden lyrics give this production the momentum to overcome a book that hashes each joke just a little too long.
Tim Kuehl offers a bug-eyed, hissing riff on Anthony Hopkins' Lecter that's repellent and compelling, while Emily Jabas turns in an appropriately deadpan performance as the driven Clarice. Their ominous tango number at the end of the first act is a comic highlight.
Other standouts include Amanda Weis, who brings a lovely singing voice and some fine comedic moments to two roles, Ryan London Levin as an over-the-top Buffalo Bill and Jordan Oxborough as an oily Dr. Chilton.
"Silence!" isn't for everyone, but if you like your comedy bawdy, raunchy and at times downright gross, this musical mash-up will have you licking your chops.
Silence! The Musical
When: 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 5 p.m. Sun. Ends March 6.
Where: The Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St., Mpls.
Tickets: $15-$40. 612-333-7977, thelabtheater.org.