Sunday, June 7, 2009

review - Red, Hot and Blue!

Red, Hot and Blue!
the 1936 Musical
music & lyrics by Cole Porter
book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse

directed/choreographed by Joe Joyce
Whitefire Theatre
through July 5

Red, Hot and Blue! may be dated with its corny jokes and timewarn flimsy plot, but seeing what made classic stars Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman and newcomer Bob Hope (see original 1936 program above) popular musical comedy performers is an enriching experience in musical theatre history - and those fabulous Cole Porter songs are forever de-lovely. A combination of 30s naughty screwball antics, a lot of vaudeville sketches and burlesque's beautiful showgirls, By George's production of Red, Hot and Blue! at the Whitefire has a multitude of pleasurable moments.

Director/choreographer Joe Joyce and musical director Brian O"Halloran keep the entertainment rolling on the tiny stage with 3 talented leads and a lovely ensemble of debutantes. The star of the evening is without a doubt Richard Horvitz as "Policy" Pinkle, the role made famous by Durante. Horvitz is an excellent comic actor with perfect timing, zippy delivery and an overabundance of energy. This is no Durante impression; Horvitz puts his own stamp on it. Allyson Turner as socialite "Nails" Duquesne is a terrific singer and has the delivery, if not like Merman, then perhaps akin to Eve Arden. She's attractive, funny and a solid performer! Kyle Nudo is an interesting choice for Bob Hale. Like Hope, he has a unique look and makes the debonair conman slick and appealing. All the chorus girls have lovely voices, with Nadia Ahern a comic standout. Equally memorable are Sandra Purpuro as squeaky-voiced Peaches and Richard Van Slyke as gay designer Mr. Philippe.

This is a cute, fun evening that will titillate fans of musical theatre. Its political jokes about Congress cheating the American people are those that still hold up. The others, mostly double entendres, despite their old-fashioned silliness, were part of the era and are worth a few chuckles.

4 out of 5 stars


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