THEATER REVIEW Touchstone's 'Pan'-American reunion
"The Pan Show" is the Lehigh Valley's most wildly-imaginative original musical of the year.
It's also "Panda"-monium.
Yes," it's a "Pan"-demic of laughter with Touchstone Theatre's "The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust."
"Pan" co-creators are Jp Jordan, Touchstone Artistic Director-Ensemble Member reprising his role the big guy with the big hairy legs, big horns and even bigger appetite, and Touchstone Ensemble Affiliate Christopher Shorr, who directs the one and one-half hour (with no intermission) musical, continuing 8 p.m. Oct. 11, 12; 8, 10:30 p.m. Oct. 13, Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem.
The zainy, brainy, frequently-hilarious musical, with impressive animation and video (Surender Dayal is Mr. Patel, the semi-clueless guide to "Pan" Land) by Alexander Clare, songs by Jordan and Shorr, choreography by Gina Handy Minyard, costume design by Touchstone Managing Director-Ensemble Member Lisa Jordan, and high-energy performances by the stellar cast, outpaces New York City off-off Broadway and Philadelphia Fringe Festival avant-garde shows, and at times rivals the granddaddy of absurdist sketch comedy, TV's "Saturday Night Live."
"The Pan Show," with a plot about a takeover of the United States and plenty of political zingers, salty language, and ribald humor, is a combination of new vaudeville, incredibly committed acting and highly-original storyline. As but one example is the song, "Slobodan Milosevic."
Jordan, mostly in "Pan"-tomime save his well-timed yelps is a goofy rogue as the half-man, half-goat god (with a small "d," I'll be darned). He ranges around the stage with a bowed-legged gait and bemused expression.
Zach Kanner, returning from "The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale" of two seasons ago when he was a Touchstone apprentice, is a dynamo reprising his role as Daphnis. He commands the stage.
Emma Chong, Touchstone General Manager-Ensemble Member, is a joyful presence in multiple roles.
Touchstone's new season of apprentices, Kathryn Krull, Kayla Prestel and Gary Warren, are spot-on in multiple roles. Krull, Prestel and Chong are superb vocally, in solos and chorus.
What next? "The Pan Triology," perhaps?