Musical Review: CANNIBAL! The Musical

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Words by Sarah McDonald

I have never been a fan of the theatre. I’ve seen two shows my entire life: The Sound of Music and Macbeth, both of which were for school.

But last year when I heard that Trey Parker, co-creator of South Park, produced The Book of Mormon I knew I had to go. I have always been a huge fan of South Park—although vulgar and not in good taste—I always found it hilarious.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I missed The Book of Mormon. Suffice to say, I was disappointed. But as luck would have it, Parker had another production coming out CANNIBAL! The Musical.

As it turns out, CANNIBAL! is Parker’s first live production. It’s a rewrite of a script he wrote in college but with additional music and material. Who knew? Based on the true story of Alfred Packer, a Pennsylvania minor who, in the end, became the first and only American convicted of cannibalism, CANNIBAL! pokes fun at Packer’s adventure and conviction.

The plot starts off with Packer in a prison cell where a young beautiful reporter tries to get the scoop on why he ate his companions. After repeatedly denying his guilt, she asks him to tell her the real story and as he revisits the events, things start to unfold.

Since I don’t want to be a spoiler, I won’t tell you how the story continues. However from Packer’s strange love for his horse to the fart and gay jokes, I must admit this is not the show for your average theatre lover but for the young at heart, who think fake poop coming out of the rear end of a cardboard horse is worth a laugh. This of course, was totally up my alley.

I caution those who expect a side splitting, tear inducing show that you likely won’t be holding your sides the whole time. But the passion and fun that comes through from the cast really sets the mood. I could tell the cast really enjoyed playing their characters, and that they were having a blast on stage. I was so impressed with the way they were able to change from one character to the next so seamlessly.  This of course was helped by the script and the way Parker wrote each scene. It was so flawless I didn’t notice the actor/character had stepped off stage until the same actor playing a new character suddenly appeared.

In addition to the tone, the cast and the jokes, the music was quite entertaining. They took current songs and created CANNIBAL! parodies which were hilarious! But, they also had original songs that struck a chord with the crowd. Not only were the songs funny, but catchy. I’ve had one stuck in my head for two weeks now!

Overall I’d rate CANNIBAL!  4.5 chewed limbs out of 5. I can’t really suggest anything that could be added to make this show better. But there is always room for improvement right?

If you like distasteful humor, vulgarity and fart jokes, CANNIBAL! The Musical is the show for you!

Photo credits
Lead image courtesy of @cstmartin


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