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A CurtainUp Berkshire Review
The News In Revue
Between Iraq and a Hard Place Like the Cranwell Resort complex where The News In Review, like the Cranwell Resort that it calls home each summer, never stands still. As Cranwell has renovated existing buildings and seems never to run out of another lot onto which to plop a big house with a big price tag, this show never seems to run out of prominent people -- especially politicians -- to put through its comic wringer. The routines may have a familiar flavor, but the show is constantly updated -- to wit, a couple sitting at our table last Saturday night were back for the second time this season, and had also seen the show on two previous visits to the Berkshires.
While the jokes are funny and timely and have less of a recycled feel than many similar satirical cabarets, what gives The News in Revue its bounce and keeps the audience in stitches is its exuberant and talented foursome of cut-ups: The multi-faceted Jay Falzone (co-director, choreographer and cast member), Jason Levinson and Andrea McCormick, both second-time Revue-ers, and newcomer Jaclyn Huberman. All have spot-on comic timing and a flair for over the top humor. They don't try to do exact impersonations of their assorted torn from the headlines roles but instead aim for, and succeed, in getting the spoof-able essence of their subjects. These include Democratic hopeful John Kerry struggling with the voters' mistaking him for a Kennedy, Bill and Hilary Clinton, George W. Bush and Martha Stewart and Monica Lewinsky, her intern day history still imprinted on the back of her dress like Hawthorne's famous letter "A."
Music director and pianist Jason Loffredo has set many of the skits to instantly recognizable songs, like the opening "Over There" number that establishes the Cranwell's downstairs theater as the place to find weapons of mass destruction. The cast's timing is further tested by Amy Schwartz whose outrageous set of costumes for each skit calls for quick change artistry.
Oh, yes, the show includes audience participation so don't be surprised if the spotlight lands on you and you're asked to be a judge in an idiot judging contest. Those who have dinner at one of Cranwell's restaurants are more likely to be seated at a ringside table. If you come early enough but after dining elsewhere, there's a set-up for buying drinks and desserts.
The News in Revue is more good-natured fun than hard-hitting, biting satire. These aren't so much angry young men and women as entertainers out to show that even when the news is disheartening, life can still be a cabaret.
6,500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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