By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek) & Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre
August 2-14, 2016
J: It was a night at the opera for Ed and I. Okay, not really, but it was a night at the theatre to watch the last musical the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo) ever performed. After Animal Crackers the brothers turned their attention to Hollywood and the movies, the rest as they say is history. It is somehow fitting Animal Crackers is being performed at the Roxy, a former movie house in Quadra Village.
This musical written for the Marxes by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind with music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, was originally performed on Broadway in 1928. The play finds high society’s Mrs. Rittenhouse (Samantha Currie) hosting a party for famous returning African explorer, Captain Jeffrey Spaulding (R.J. Peters). But what is meant to be a proper social gathering soon turns into one filled with high jinks, chase scenes, and deception when a valuable painting of “After the Hunt” by Beaugard goes missing.
Henry Wishcamper pared-down Kauffman’s work so it could be performed easily off-Broadway and with a much smaller cast, but amazingly this show has a 4-piece orchestra. I hadn’t been to a show at the Roxy in a long, long time. It was good to return even if there was no longer a projection screen at the back of the building.