Front Row Reviewers

Jun 17, 2024 | Musical, Reviews, Salt Lake County, Utah

Cooper Jordan’s “SAW The Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of SAW” is Bloody Killing it at the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

Review By Emilie Minshew, Front Row Reviewers
When I heard that the national tour of SAW The Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of SAW was coming to the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville, I knew I absolutely had to be there. Two of the greatest loves of my life are musical theatre and horror movies. This show does the seemingly impossible and combined the two to create a sexual, laugh-out-loud gore fest that audiences will love.

SAW the musical: The Unauthorized parody of SAW is based on the cult classic 2004 film SAW. Like the film, the musical centers around two men who are trapped in a brutal life-or-death game by a sadistic serial killer, Jigsaw. However, this show hilariously parodies these events of the movie through queer romance, singing, dancing, and serial killer puppets. The show first premiered off-Broadway in 2023 and is currently making its way across the United States in a national tour. I first became aware of the production after watching a clip of the show that had gone viral on TikTok and was delighted to find that they would soon be traveling through Salt Lake City.

I saw the show at the stunning Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville. This venue is only three years old and is quickly becoming a staple within the Utah Arts community. It features two theaters, a blackbox and an auditorium, as well as a rehearsal/event space. I was surprised at how large and beautiful the space is, and I can’t wait to go back. SAW the musical: The Unauthorized parody of SAW is currently showing in the blackbox theater.

Immediately upon entering the intimate blackbox theater, I felt like I was in the biohazordous bathroom of Jigsaw’s warehouse. Designed by Sibling Sets, the floors were covered in blood and the toilet and walls were stained with what looked like other more suspicious bodily fluids. As I spotted the rusty chains and shackles on the floor, I knew that we were in for a special kind of treat.

Created and produced by Cooper Jordan, this show is a queer, raunchy, blood-filled romp akin to the likes of shows like Avenue Q and A Very Potter Musical. This show perfectly demonstrates that the line between horror and comedy (and musicals apparently) is much thinner than one might realize. Comedy and horror are notoriously difficult to pull off, I think in part because they are both rooted in such primal feelings. The success of both largely hinges on timing and surprise, making them more alike than one might guess. Bookwriter Zoe Ann Jordan and lyricists Patrick Spencer and Anthony De Angelis have done a fantastic job of marrying the two themes by poking fun at the absurd tendencies of the horror genre and fully leaning into the campy comedic goodness of musical theatre. It is a whip-smart paraody that me cackling out loud the whole performance.

Directed by Stephanie Rosenberg, the show features a small and extremely talented cast of three: Steven Martella as Gordon/Zepp, James Lynch as Adam/Diana, and Morgan Traud as Jigsaw/Amanda/Alison (casts change depending on tour location, see production website for more detailed cast info). I think that small cast shows can be difficult to pull off because everyone must be acting at an exceptionally high level that is sustained for the entirety of the performance for a show to seem cohesive. This cast does this remarkably well. The chemistry between Martella and Lynch is the highlight of the show, in that it’s simultaneously extremely almost uncomfortably sexual, and hysterical. Their comedic timing is truly impeccable. Traud deserves a special shoutout for her impressive vocal abilities. She manages to sing as the derranged and raspy Jigsaw, while only minutes later belting out a vocally intensive ballad as Amanda. As a performer myself, I know that this is no small feat. Well done!

Please note that this show features strong adult content such as: simulated gore and violence, explicit sexual humor, and murder; therefore, it is only suitable for adult audiences. If you are lucky enough to get front row seats, you may even find yourself in the splash zone for some more gory scenes. But don’t let that scare you, the show is well worth it.

Tickets start at $30 and the production runs through June 23rd in Utah with both evening and matinee performances. For additional tour dates please visit the production website. Come celebrate Pride month with this filthy and ridiculous show.

Cooper Jordan presents SAW the Musical: The Unauthorized parody of SAW
Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, 2525 Taylorsville Blvd, Taylorsville, UT 84129
June 17-23, 2024 times and dates vary.
Tickets start at $30.

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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