Review: 2017 Varieties Finals gets it right

Members of Pairing D perform “Theo: Legend in Progress,” during Varieties Finals on Feb. 24.

Thomas Shreve and Keely O'Neal

Themed Relive the Legends this year, Varieties hosted its finale this weekend after a total of four shows, two semi-finals and two finals.

Two weekends ago, seven vignettes and seven pairings used their best onstage talents to compete with one another. A panel of judges selected four vignettes and four pairings to move onto the finals. The finals took place Friday and Saturday with an award show on Friday.

Vignettes, which consist of one to three people, had to create entirely new performances, whereas the larger pairings stuck to their previous mini-musicals from the semi-finals.

“I did it last year so it’s cool to see it from the audience,” Caroline Moffett said. “I never knew about the vignettes.”

The four vignettes consisted of the three-person band The Triggered Snowflakes, magician Michael Oz, music duo Parker Reed and Rachel Pollastrini and magician Christian Manahl.

Oz won first place with his stand-out performance. He performed his multiplying cup trick from the semi-finals and a new, mind-blowing trick where he levitated a table.

But his tricks may have been the least interesting part about his performance. Oz’s onstage presence and charisma were unmatched. He knew his way around the stage and had a likable onstage personality, which likely attributed to his first-place award.

“He was awesome, he guessed my phone code,” audience member Alex Kinnes said.

Christian Manahl, whose tricks included pulling cards out of thin air, finished second.

The Triggered Snowflakes, which featured vocals from Haylee Daughtee, vocals and keyboard from Taylor Nguyen and beats on the cajón from Nolan Vollstedt. Their vocals were impressive and possibly the best of the night.

Reed and Pollastrini finished fourth with their performances on the guitar and ukulele, respectively. Their calming music was a refreshing change of pace compared to the hectic pairings.

The pairings were longer, 20-minute mini-musicals that featured original stories, choreography and covers of famous songs with new lyrics. The four pairings were Pairing E: VillainsInCorpseOrated, Pairing F: Not a Fairytale, Pairing G: Night at the Museum and Pairing D: Theo: Legend in Progress.

“It’s interesting to watch because it’s not the same thing,” dramatics coordinator Maggie Naughton said. “The pairings are allowed to change things so it’s always different.”

Pairing E: VillainsInCorpseOrated finished in first place with nine awards.

The story, which won best plot, followed Morgan Sacia as a reluctant Dracula who doesn’t want to be evil anymore. Every component of the performance was carefully and skillfully done. Sacia went home with best actress and best female vocals. Poni Lejukole, who played the menacing Queen of Hearts, won best supporting actress.

Pairing F: Not a Fairytale finished second and won the people’s choice award. It followed a mother recounting her own love story while attending fairytale school. The story featured a daring, emotional ending that surpassed expectations.

Pairing G: Night at the Museum, which was an homage to the movie of the same title, finished third. It featured a museum of music legends who came to life at night and were pestered by Vanilla Ice. The songs were strong and diverse, featuring some from every famous decade in music.

Pairing D: Theo: Legend in Progress, which was the story of Theo trying to reclaim his wife back from Hades, finished fourth. Theo’s voyage between gods was highly entertaining, whether it was Aphrodite trying to seduce him or Ares teaching him to fight to the tune of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

Overall, Varieties was a smooth and grand show.