Friday, January 30, 2015

A Lively Lucy

Desi steals Lucy's thunder in this sweet new show about the brazen comedienne

Photo Courtesy of Hennepin Theater Trust

It's always tricky to do a performance about a beloved character.

This can apply to any kind of person - screen sirens (Marilyn), royalty (QEII), etc. - but it's especially difficult in the comedy world, where great performances are already hard to pull off. Trying to emulate the success of something that became famous for it's unpredictability to start with can be a nightmare.

Successfully retaining the spontaneity of great humor while keeping it true to form AND fresh and funny is exactly the struggle of I Love Lucy: Live on Stage, a new pastiche portraying the eternally beloved I Love Lucy show as it is being filmed. Fans of the television show will pick it up quickly, but they may be hesitant to get into it - and in the beginning, that's fine. It takes a while for this Lucy to kick off.

Photo Courtesy of Hennepin Theater Trust
After it hits its stride, though, it can be a mighty fun ride, in particular in Act II. Unlike the original television show, the Desi in this Lucy is by far the star - Euriamis Losada is fabulous as Lucy's lisping paramour - and he gets much more 'screen time' as the show moves on. He carries most of the comedic timing, but the real standout is his incredible singing voice. This is not a musical, but I found myself wishing it were for the benefit of hearing more of Losada's luxurious voice. He's lovely, and worth the show alone.

Thea Brooks does a fine job as Lucy Ricardo; she's no Lucille Ball, but let's be honest: who could be?! Brooks brings her own swagger to the character, and once one forgets the original television cast, it works just fine.

The costumes are unequivocally true to period and gorgeous. (ModCloth could make *a lot* of money capitalizing on those designs!) The set, unfortunately, does not keep pace and provides a relatively drab backdrop for the otherwise lively action on stage.

The show runs without intermission (a welcome surprise), and time passes quickly; make sure you stop by before it's done running! Learn more and buy tickets by clicking on this link.