Catch Me If You Can is the dramatization of the incredible, true story of how Frank Abagnale, Jr. managed to evade the FBI while cashing $2.5 million in bad cheques–all between the ages of 16 and 21. The play, adapted from the 1980 autobiography and the 2002 film starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, opened on Broadway in 2011 and follows Frank’s story as he runs away from home to impersonate a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, a professor and a lawyer all by forging his credentials.
As a relatively young musical, Catch Me If You Can is a new and exciting offering from MacEwan’s 2014/15 Theatre Season. A simple set allows for the presence of an on-stage orchestra, which makes scene transitions easy and leaves room for the audience’s imagination to help transport them to the various settings. At the same time however, technical issues such as mics being too loud or too quiet as well as some wardrobe malfunctions posed certain speed bumps during the Preview performance.
As for the cast, the real stand-out is Karina Cox’s portrayal of Brenda, Frank’s love interest, whose big number “Fly, Fly Away” comes at the end of the second act and is sung with stunning passion. Her performance is a knockout, her voice crystal clear and her expressions full of emotion.
The musical itself benefits from a well-written script and tongue-in-cheek humour thanks to Terrence McNally’s writing and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s music and lyrics. It’s easy for the audience to accept the humour and to root for the characters each step of the way.
Altogether, Catch Me If You Can is a great performance from the students of MacEwan and is a must-see, for those who know the story as well as those who have never heard of Frank Abagnale, Jr. There is something for everyone–be it dancing, singing, or laughs–which makes it a pleasure to show Edmonton’s local theatre community some love.
Catch Me If You Can will be performed until November 8th at the MacEwan University’s John L. Haar Theatre (10045 156 Street).
Banner art courtesy of MacEwan University.