Xena Live! Episode 2: Xena Lives! The Musical | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Xena Live! Episode 2: Xena Lives! The Musical

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Xena Live! Episode 2: Xena Lives! The Musical, About Face Theatre. This new, wildly funny show resurrecting the warrior princess shows that Xena has a legion of loyal fans--evidenced by the audience's shrieks and lusty exclamations--but even Xena virgins should enjoy About Face Theatre's vibrant production, the sequel to a 1999 hit. Writer Claudia Allen and director Scott Ferguson revel in camp comedy and broad sexual innuendo, and clever new music numbers draw on artists such as Alanis Morissette, Huey Lewis, and the Rolling Stones.

Returning to the show are the commanding Elizabeth Laidlaw as Xena and the charismatic Amy Matheny as her sidekick, Gabrielle. Believing that Xena is dead, Gabrielle convinces herself to move on and adopts her own sidekick (Patrick Sarb). While they're seeking adventure at the temple of cult figure Androgyny (Scott Duff), the evil Alti (Elizabeth Rich) brings Xena back to life. Setting out to rejoin Gabrielle, Xena encounters Ares (Gregory Thomas Isaac), Aphrodite (Lisa Velten), and Gaybriel (the scene-stealing Jason Vizza) as well as, for some inscrutable reason, a trio of barnyard animals with fighting skills.

This endlessly creative show features exciting fight scenes (choreographed by David Woolley), smart costumes and lighting (Stacy Ellen Rich and Darin Keesing), and an excellent, exuberant cast. Pseudocommercials interrupting the action fall flat, but the show's riotous parody and ribald comedy save the day.

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