The Titanic parody hits the mark

They called “Titanique” the show of dreams. fever dreams. And it was, it Yes, really was.

Easily the funniest musical in town right now, Off-Broadway Cuckoo Camp Fest at the Asylum in Chelsea is based on an unsinkable idea: it tells the story of the 1997 film Titanic to the songs of French-Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion.

theater criticism

One hour, 40 minutes without a break. At the Asylum NYC, 307 West 26th St.

It is scandaleux that no one has ever thought of this mashup.

After all, no singer is more closely associated with a (non-musical) film of this magnitude than Celine with James Cameron’s Titanic – the two feed off each other – and the rest of her popular catalog carries the same emotional weight and theatrical narratives as the signature song of the Oscar-winning film My Heart Will Go On.

And co-writers Marla Mindelle, Constantine Rousouli, and Tye Blue deftly throw a boatload of it in wherever they can.

When Jack and Rose first meet on deck while Rose contemplates throwing herself overboard, they sing a duet of “Taking Chances.”

“What do you say about taking risks? How do you feel about jumping off the edge?” They leave. Perfection.

The Asylum basement becomes Titanic in the new Off-Broadway parody.
The asylum’s basement has been transformed into the Titanic for a new Off-Broadway parody.
Emilio Madrid

As the captain, oddly known only as Victor Garber, an Irish-tinged Frankie Grande hops through “I Drove All Night” while driving the doomed ship to speed up.

The unsinkable Molly Brown, played by Kathy Deitch, after surviving the tragedy, belts out “All By Myself”: “Those days are goooone!”

When Jaye Alexander, wearing a neon blue flapper wig, yells “River Deep, Mountain High” at the iceberg and forces the other characters to “Lip Sync For Your Lifeboats,” things really get out of hand.

But the most inspiring choice is to make Celine – as weird as she is talented – the protagonist of a story that is in no way about her.

Celine (Mindelle) hilariously shows up at unexpected times.
Celine (Marla Mindelle) hilariously shows up at unexpected times.
Emilio Madrid

Outrageously funny, Mindelle plays Celine as the omniscient narrator who, as we learn on an opening Titanic museum tour, is actually 150 years old and was on board the ship with our favorite characters. Secure!

She appears from time to time to glorify other characters.

Mindelle’s performance is a sensational, hilarious and deranged twist that rises above a 2 o’clock Las Vegas impression. Yes, if you’re a big Celine fan, eh Hm, a certain tabloid critic, will have you howling over the actress’ borrowed Celine-isms from old viral YouTube videos and quips from the album A New Day Live. But the performance — talkative, occasionally improvised, and quite affectionate — is more than a taunt.

Most impressively, the actress somehow recreates Dion’s superstar energy in a low-budget show, staged in a basement full of columns that smell of Ajax. Whenever she comes on stage, the audience is dizzy to see her.

Left to right: Ryan Duncan, Kathy Deitch, Marla Mindelle and John Riddle are as good singers as they are comics.
Left to right: Ryan Duncan, Kathy Deitch, Marla Mindelle and Frankie Grande are as good singers as they are comics.
Emilio Madrid

Stage film parodies have been around for years, but what makes “Titanique” work so well is the multi-million dollar elevator pitch – “Titanic” narrated through Celine songs! — and the talent of the cast, all of whom are as strong singers as they are comedians.

Each role gets a new twist. Rousouli plays Jack as a goofy prat who goes well with Alex Ellis’ Jan Brady-esque tormented Rose. John Riddle’s Cal is Billy Zane if Billy Zane went to Fire Island, and Ryan Duncan turns Ruth, Rose’s uptight mother, into a Joan Crawford who just discovered a wire hanger.

Everyone made me smile until the end, which didn’t happen during the movie Titanic. Director Tye Blue’s staging, cheesy as it must be, is also substantial and oddly grand for a place that was hosting a comedy night minutes after Titanique ended.

What the show could use is a crippling, humorless musical moment that blows our minds. It comes awfully close with a great full cast rendition of “The Prayer,” which Dion often duets with Andrea Bocelli – I’ve even seen one spectator take heart at the same time – but then abruptly cuts off. A moment of serenity here and there would make the laugh even bigger.

But as it is, Titanique is the ideal off-Broadway commercial show. It knows who its audience is — the kind of people who listen to the eight-minute version of “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” and then click replay — and works hard to unabashedly entertain them.

At the moment the musical is playing until September 25th. But does it have to go down so soon?

https://nypost.com/2022/08/05/titanique-the-musical-review-titanic-parody-hits-the-mark/ The Titanic parody hits the mark

Emma Bowman

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