Minneapolis Musical Theatre has built its reputation on producing off beat shows and Eating Raoul is no exception. Originally a low-budget-cult film from 1982 and written by Paul Bartel, the musical version debuted in New York in 1992 and is funny, campy and crammed with catchy tunes, cartoonish characters and over-the-top nonsense.
Jessica Holtan Breed and Anthony Sofie portray The Blands, Mary and Paul a couple of “squares” looking to secure their piece of the American dream. While Mary and Paul have spent years scrimping and saving every penny in hopes of opening a restaurant a lost job, stolen car, parking tickets and failed attempt at a loan put achieving their dream in jeopardy. But being the budding entrepreneurs they are take advantage of an unpleasant situation when a drunk guy looking for a party down the hall mistakenly enters their apartments and starts making unwanted advances towards Mary. Paul konks the guy over the head and the couple cleans out his wallet. Upon realizing how much they made off of this stranger, the couple realizes they could easily increase their savings by ridding the Los Angeles area of degenerates. Being the 1960’s at the height of the sexual revolution, the Blands attempt to shed their “square” images and attract customers with the help of Donna the Dominatrix (Karissa Lade). But when Raoul (Gregory Adam) learns of their plan, he wants in on the cash and even attempts to catch the eye of Mary.
The cast is clearly having fun performing this show and that is the best aspect. They don’t attempt to convince us this is a comedy, nor do they stress that we’re watching a spoof. You won’t find over the top musical numbers here. Instead, you’ll find songs that condense and speed the story along. Director Ryan McGuire Grimes and Choreographer Loretta Miller did a fantastic job evoking the mood of the 1960’s and making this piece feel like a true Minneapolis Musical Theatre production.
Eating Raoul runs through October 26 at the New Century Theatre. For more information on the show visit the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s website.