Trying to Love Animal Crackers
“I can’t wait to see families and kids of all ages come together to enjoy this remarkable musical comedy”. Words of CenterStage Artistic Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah. He is referring to ANIMAL CRACKERS, the play chosen for the playhouse’s opening of the 51st season.
We are looking at the reproduction of Groucho Marx and his brothers’ comedy of the 1930’s. Comedy that was funny 83 years ago. What are we looking at? A man with an exaggerated stopped posture, black framed eye glasses with enormous lenses, and a mustache expanded with black grease paint. His humor was effectual when an audience talked back or taunted him; my audience hardly did. Kids would find him funny, but I did not.
The effort and the energy on the part of the cast were acceptable, but that kind of communication with a modern audience would have a “failure to communicate”. It was funny to watch Sean Blake, the only “brown man” in the cast, switch from being a reputable painter, to being a servant. I enjoyed the tap dancing and the voice of Catherine Smitko (Mrs. Rittenhouse)
As usual the set decoration was outstanding, but this box of Animal Crackers has something missing.