Don't worry if you've never seen the 1994 movie this speedy musical parodies. The show refers to other movies, too, and is hilarious on its own.
As the title implies, some crazy person hid a bomb on a bus. He set it to arm when the bus went over 50 mph, and to detonate when the bus went back below that speed. He also rigged a two-way camera so that he could talk to the people on the bus and negotiate their ransom. They do their best to stay alive. That's pretty much it for the plot.
I don't know what made writer/composer Paige Scott decide to turn an already preposterous (but exciting) action flick into a musical theatre piece but I've been looking forward to this show ever since she previewed the opening song at Q Artistry's 2012 Playwrights Festival. "My Life's a Bomb" is as catchy as the characters say it is.
Scott's original book and music for this show is fresh, funny and satisfying. For the most part, the performers deliver it well. Dave Ruark is a special gem as the hook-handed terrorist.
The obviously low-budget set embraces and surpasses its limitations, adding another layer of wit. The cheerful, cartoon-y bus thrusts into the audience while other scenes take place on levels above and around it. Charming bits of choreography become funny in the cramped bus space.
The show lost a star because of its uneven sound. Only three of the eight singers have working microphones. The three-piece band sounds great but overpowers the un-miked singers. One of the leads, although otherwise excellent, sang flat a few times the night I was there, so I took off another half-star.
But... did I mention this show is hilarious?