“Beetlejuice” is an irreverent laugh out loud fun fest at the Fox
By Joanne Fistere
“Beetlejuice” made its Broadway premiere in the doomed covid year of 2019 garnering multiple Tony nominations with nary a win. Based on the 1988 film, with music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect and book by Scott Brown and Anthony King, the story concerns a recently deceased couple who try to haunt the new inhabitants of their former home and call for help from a devious ghost named Betelgeuse (aka Beetlejuice). One of the new inhabitants is pre-teen, Lydia, who is still mourning her mother's death. . The other two inhabitants are Lydia’s father, Charles, and Delia, a life coach hired to help Lydia deal with her mother’s passing.
The national tour now playing at The Fabulous Fox is led by Justin Collette in the title role. We are in a master’s hands with Collette as he pokes fun at the audience and is hilarious with each and every inuendo. At one point on opening night an audience member shouted something and he responded with “What? This isn’t &$^*ing TV, I can hear you!”.
Making her professional debut is recent high school graduate Isabella Esler as Lydia. She is absolutely stunning in her stage presence and vocal chops, as this iteration is very much Lydia’s story Ms. Esler renders it perfectly.
Another standout is Kate Marilley as Delia the life coach to Lydia. She is all arms and legs and uses every inch of limb to her advantage and great comic expression. Her ability to vocally achieve pretention and pseudo-meditative psychoanalysis is priceless. Her bodily possession in “Day-O” in Act I is a master class in physical comedy and the entire ensemble is hilarious in this number that closes the first half of the show.
Act II has a slew of show stopping numbers including “That Beautiful Sound”, featuring various methods to induce screams from neighbors and delivery personnel, “What I Know Now”, the one and only visit to the Netherworld, and “Creepy Old Guy”- you’ll just have to see the show to figure that one out for yourself.
There is a lot going on in this show from start to finish to distract from the fact that the plot is pretty thin. But the leads are so strong it really doesn’t matter because they take you along on a very fun ride that screams by (pun intended). While this is certainly a show ripe for Halloween it’s not really intended for young audiences and, as Beetlejuice explains at the very beginning of the show, it is actually a show about death.
“Beetlejuice” at The Fabulous Fox runs through October 22nd. For tickets and information go to The Fabulous Fox website.