Daniel Slauson is a thief. He simply steals the show in the sweet, silly Sugar—now playing at the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival. His facial gestures, double takes and physical comedy, not to mention his grace in size-14 high heels, make his portrayal of a man hiding out as a woman in an all-girl band a real hoot.
The whole cast in this musical version of the classic movie Some Like It Hot is a fun, kooky crew. It’s puzzling that this clever musical isn’t staged more often, with its funny premise and witty songs. Slauson does double duty as a male musician who witnesses a gangster murder and then hides in disguise as the female bass player Daphne. His musical partner, Joe (Ryan Nicolls), goes along as Josephine, the sassy sax player. The two high-tail it with the girl group to Florida, where they find mischief and romance while constantly changing genders and identities.
Much effort went into this production, from the great 1920s costumes and clever sets to fun sound effects and creative dance numbers, all under the skillful direction of Bob Irvin. Slauson and Nicolls may have the comedic edge, but there are a number of contenders in this cast, including Analise Langford as singer Sugar Kane, muggy Raymond Keller as the gangster Knuckles, and Dakota Cox as the tap-dancing dandy Spats.
The festival is housed in the small, outdoor Veteran’s Memorial Amphitheatre. It’s a comfortable theater under the stars, complete with backed benches and a cool river breeze, not to mention the new bathrooms, which were inaugurated with a formal flush over the loudspeakers on opening night.