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A CurtainUp Review
As it merrily mocks social climbers, nouveau riche, phony artists, and scoop-seeking newshounds, this is pure pre-Depression-era escapism. The paltry plot comes with the territory. Besides, it's just an excuse for John Carrafa's invigorating period choreography, clowning director Paul Kalina's inspired sight gags and some wizard Marx Brothers impersonations by Joey Slotnick's born-again Groucho as Captain Spaulding and Jonathan Brody's dead-on Chico as Emmanuel Ravelli. (Unfortunately, Molly Brennan's Harpo is a deadpan downer.) The supporting roles are equally zany, especially Ora Jones as flakily aristocratic Mrs. Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont in every clueless second) and Ed Kross as two male ingenues, including the fourth brother Zeppo.
The wonders are the marvelous and surprisingly elaborate tap-dancing production numbers that erupt from set designer Robin Vest's Long Island pleasure palace. "Watching the Clouds Roll By" is Ziegfeld-flamboyant, while the finale spoofs Versailles as only the Marx Brothers could subvert it. Plus these borrowed or original melodies and rousers like "Three Little Words,""Everyone Says I Love You,""Hello, I Must Be Going,""Hooray for Captain Spaulding," and "Long Island Low Down" really are better than what we put up with today.
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