Review: Head Over Heels
Loosely based on "The Arcadia" by Sir Philip Sidney, Head Over Heels is a lighthearted romp through the kingdom of Arcadia, as the royal family attempts to save their kingdom, all set to the effervescent pop music of The Go-Go's.
Basilius and Gynecia, the king and queen, are wonderfully played by Jeremy Kushnier and Rachel York. The pair have some personal problems, not to mention the task of finding a husband for their eldest daughter, something that seems impossible as she rejects every suitor.
While Pamela, played by the fearless Bonnie Milligan, rejects her suitors, a young man has fallen in love with her younger sister, Philoclea. Andrew Durand charmingly portrays the smitten shepherd Musidorus, opposite Alexandra Socha as the sweet and charming Philoclea.
Meanwhile, Pamela's handmaid Mopsa, played by Taylor Iman Jones in one of the most memorable performances ever, has found herself in a precarious position regarding Pamela, all while trying to comfort her father Dametas, sweetly played by Tom Alan Robbins, who is reflecting with regret on aspects of his life.
And pulling the strings is Peppermint as Pythio, the Oracle of Delphi, who delivers the prophecy that sends the king into a spin to save his kingdom from losing their iconic "beat", while still harboring their own secrets.
Occasionally over-the-top (in a good way), Head Over Heels is a bold musical comedy. The Elizabethan element of it is brought to life through the dialogue, staging, and costumes. In a way, it's reminiscent of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, with a similar structure, but it works well with the modern storyline in the Renaissance-like setting.
It can be bitingly funny, and by intermission you'll know that no other music would fit the story. While the songs may not always move the plot along, they don't need to. The choreography is fun, and makes the eight person ensemble work incredibly hard, but it brings a great deal of energy to the larger numbers, which is absolutely infectious. To top it off, it has a good message, promoting acceptance for all. It's a self-described "celebration of love in all forms", which could not be more true. The show's message is a good reminder to accept people for who they are. Through the inclusivity shown in the cast and storyline, it becomes a perfect remedy to a lot of what is around us in the world today.