Chan “Love Is The Law” Poling Enchants with “A Night in Olympus” at Illusion Theater
Chan Poling has composed the music and written the lyrics for A Night in Olympus, with book by Jeffrey Hatcher and Bill Corbett. This is light fare that exudes enchantment while cleverly tapping into the power of Greco-Roman paganism. What makes that additionally notable is that the setting is high school during its signature event, the prom. However, at Olympus, Indiana’s high school, the faculty are actually fallen gods and goddesses who have shrouded their powers for various reasons.
The talented McKinnley Aitchison plays Maggie, the musical’s protagonist. Maggie has no date for the big event and the boy whose driving her mad seems to only perceive her in purely platonic terms. She also doesn’t rate as high on the traditional beauty or popularity scales.
But little does she know that faculty member, Miss Stenger (a vibrant Aimee K. Bryant) is the goddess Venus, chomping at the bit to exercise her powers. Maggie is her perfect choice, so she makes the girl irresistible to all the boys except the one she truly wants, Harry (a charmingly clueless Tyler Michaels). This makes for frustration, confusion, and zany comedy.
Michael Robins has directed a versatile cast with rollicking timing and colorful characterizations. The actors are all past to even long past high school age, yet they pull it off. Many of them also double as the faculty and staff characters. This, they also pull off. It’s a fun cotton candy sort of time!
A Night in Olympus
Through June 4
Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis