You’ll be “Head Over Heels” for Miami University’s The Go-Go’s Musical

Review by Kathleen Lamorelle

I thoroughly enjoyed Miami University’ Theatre’s production of “Head Over Heels,” written by Jeff Whitty and adapted by James Magruder, with songs by The Go-Go’s, and directed by Lindsey Augusta Mercer. This fun and lively show has the audience laughing at the chaotic, comedic antics of its colorful characters and bopping to the upbeat pop songs of the ground-breaking Go-Go’s. 

Based on “The Arcadia,” by Sir Philip Sidney, and set in 16th century mythological Greece, the troupe of royals and subjects of Arcadia leave their home to outrun a powerful prophecy which foretells their kingdom’s downfall. The oracle reveals that the kingdom has become too rigid and traditional. Trying to keep their famous “beat,” the characters are launched into an unexpected path of self-discovery and understanding of their authentic selves. At a basic level, this is the love story of three very different couples. On a deeper level, the play explores issues of queerness, gender, acceptance, authenticity, and being true to oneself.   

From the energetic ensemble opening with “We’ve Got the Beat,” to the harmonic duets of “Mad About You,” the actors’ passion for their individual roles is apparent. Their sometimes playful, sometimes tender interactions with their love partners is subtly enhanced by clever use of lighting to play upon emotions, and witty double entendres which keep the audience on its toes. Initially, the stage is lit with traditional binary pink and blue, but as the characters evolve, so does the lighting – into a rainbow of colors where the lovers can live their best lives and their fullest selves. 

Lisa Marti-Stuart (Costume Designer) emphasized pattern and shape when designing the Elizabethan costumes, assigning a higher complexity of pattern and combinations to characters with higher social stature. The effect is substantial and far from archaic. The myriad of textures capture light and enhance movement throughout.

The thoroughly enjoyable spectacle of Pythio the oracle is divinely acted by Chase Weimerskirch. The duets of Rachel Fischner (Pamela) and Kit Gladieux (Mopsa) are beautifully blended and the audience is audibly awed by their powerful voices. The playful comedy of Ryn Bondi (Musidorus) with the believelably innocent Emily Stowers (Philoclea) is well timed and heartwarming. Ms. Stowers’ emotional rendition of “Good Girl” resonates keenly with the audience. The suggestive “sillouette sex” scene is one to remember!

I definitely recommend Head over Heels. It’s a farcical musical romp with inspiring themes, layered on top of a good story. Get tickets HERE TODAY. The last performance is April 24.

Kathleen Lamorelle loves music, theatre, teaching kids to swim, and her family.