BWW Reviews: DOUBLE TROUBLE - Two Actors and Seven Characters in Search of a Better Show
Billed as a farce and referenced in Mathew Crowle's director's notes in the program as being reminiscent of the old Warner Bros. "Merry Melodies" cartoons, I found more trouble with Porchlight Musical Theatre's production than I did laughs.
Perhaps Porchlight's fall musical just isn't my cup of tea. During a recent performance, I sat stunned for the better part of the entire show as the audience laughed, hooted and howled around me.
I don't think so, though. My theater companion inquired at intermission if she could leave ("If I have to sit through the rest of this, so do you." was my reply). As a farce, things never reach the level of a "Noises Off" or"The Drowsey Chaperone." And for the record, I still laugh at the occasional Bugs Bunny cartoon and Bugs Bunny this ain't.
I felt as if the audience was watching a different show than the one I was. The musical, about a pair of song-writing brothers fresh off a Broadway hit arriving at a Hollywood studio to find the have exactly one day to write one great song for a movie musical or else be fired by the finicky studio head, is beyond corny and old fashioned.
Just a sample of what passes as jokes here: "When I was young, the Dead Sea wasn't even sick" and "With one drink, I feel it. With two drinks, anyone can feel it." Insert rimshot and polite, courtesy laughs here.
Or not. I lost count at how many times I actually groaned. To borrow an old Vaudeville line that would very much feel at home within the show: the mortician called, he wants the shoes back.
"Double Trouble" is dead on arrival. Flat-lined. And it isn't for lack of trying. the two actual brothers playing the song writing duo (and all the other characters in the show) -Adrian and Alexander Aguillar-are charming and sing and dance exceptionally well. The direction by Matthew Crowle is done with the sort of break-neck speed required of both farces and "Looney Tunes" cartoons. The choreography (also by Crowle) is highly polished and rises above the standard fare one is accustom to at Stage 773. The costumes by Alexia Rutherford recall the 1940's era nicely. The scenic design by Jeffrey D. Kmiec is also eye-pleasing.
I couldn't help but think everyone's talents could have been better served on another show --any show, really. "Double Trouble" is the creation of Bob and Jim Walton and was written just over a decade ago. With its stale jokes and routines, it feels so much older, though. The songs were also fairly forgettable and seemed to me to all be variations of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."
"Double Trouble" isn't worth your time or your trouble.