Inferno Beach | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Inferno Beach, Bailiwick Repertory. The title sounds like a teen slasher movie, but in this case the inferno is the Greek underworld. Orpheus doesn't toddle off to Hades in search of Eurydice in this musical adaptation, however. Instead, hell comes to him, as a bevy of damned souls converge on a seaside resort. Will the humble concierge Ben and a reformed harlette known only as the Girl find a new life together, or will they honeymoon in the pits for all eternity?

Marc Stopeck and Jon Steinhagen's Inferno Beach, first produced at Circle Theatre, adheres to the classical tale no more closely than it must to string together a score of clever tunes. David Zak's precision-timed direction and Domeneck Danza's twinkle-toed choreography give the opening number so much momentum that the show rolls right through the occasional slow spot (notably, the oddly oomph-less postintermission "No Rest for the Wicked"). Firepower is also supplied by the irrepressible Alexandra Billings, resplendent in James Raby's sizzling costumes, who plays the tour manager from hell with barn-burning glee, only to wring our hearts with the sweetly poignant "Time to Go." And a stalwart supporting cast--in particular, Gary McNulty as the lovers' avuncular confidant--radiates enough incandescence to warm our dark winter's end.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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