Boxing, comedy and rock ‘n’ roll a winning combination at Shakespeare in the Park
If you should choo-oo-oo-se not to see this one, you’ll miss a good thing. I’d probably be pushin’ too hard if I wrote the entire review in a series of puns revolving around the titles of the tunes in this goofy and fun musical comedy, but ooh child, I have a suspicion that if someone doesn’t rescue me soon I might actually try. After all, it’s a big country and if my reflections on this evening of light entertainment and rock ‘n’ roll music can motivate you to wait for that warm California sun to go down and then take just one look at this latest in a long series of musical amalgamations by Marcel Daguerre and Jerry Miller, I’ll be happy.
Okay, that’s enough of that.
By blending a stereotypical boxing story and a classic sundered-lovers comedy plot with the lyrical content of a series of radio hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, Daguerre and Miller have crafted a very appealing show. Heavy on campiness and scenery-chewing performances, especially by Roger Montalbano as pugilist manager Capt. Tom Parker and Quentin St. George, who as far as I know never played Kookie on 77 Sunset Strip, but who does a great over-the-top performance as fight promoter Emperor Jones. Both guys can actually sing too, when the spirit in the sky moves them.
And they’d better be able to sing, because so can everyone else in this 14-person cast. Especially the women, and especially Sarah C. Foster as Capt. Parker’s girlfriend, Charlotte Grey, and Casey Chell as his coquettish, navel-pierced, Catholic schoolgirl of a niece, Priscilla Parker. I realize it’s cruel to be kind of brief regarding plot summary, but it’s difficult to get it on paper because the night is simply too full of too many fun things to mention. I usually don’t leave you this way, but all I can say is that if this one doesn’t leave you shakin’ all over with laughter, throw in the towel.