BWW Reviews: Big Laughs for LITTLE ME - Funtastic
What do you get when you take one great comedic actor who plays seven different parts, a powerhouse leading lady and an ensemble of 11 multitalented thespians? You get one fun-tastic evening of professional theater with the musical, Little Me, presented by the Good Theater in Portland, Maine.
With a book by Neil Simon based on the novel by PatRick Dennis, Music by Cy Coleman and Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Little Me tells the story of the rise to fame, and excessively large fortune of a little girl from the wrong side of the tracks who finds her way to the right side with the help of several willing gentlemen.
This show should only be done if you have a triple threat actor to play the male lead. Fortunately, Good Theater has Stephen Underwood who can sing, dance and act all seven parts with hilarious perfection. Underwood effortlessly brings the roles of Noble, Pinchley, Val, Fred, Otto, Prince, and Noble, Jr. to life repeatedly, giving each their own solid physicality and vocal nuance. Underwood's performance is what good comedy is all about, evident by the non-stop laughter of the audience every time he was on stage.
Kelly Caufield (Younger Belle & Baby) proves, once again, why she is the best musical actress in Maine. Caufield shines on stage, with her solid singing, dancing and infectious smile. Caufield proves her comedic strength, complimenting Underwood's many roles with equal hilarity in her acting.
Lynne McGhee (Older Belle) does a great job and is fun to watch. McGhee's costumes are fantastic and her moments in a white tutu ensemble are priceless. Andrew Sawyer (PatRick Dennis) is delightful, enhancing McGhee and each scene he's in. There is no doubt that Glenn Anderson is the ultimate supporting character actor with his solid portrayal of several roleS. Anderson masterfully brings the most to every moment he's on stage. John U. Robinson is very funny in his many roles. Triple threat Tyler Sperry shines whenever he's on stage.
The entire talented ensemble works extremely hard and very fast in their many roles. Marie Dittmer, Betsy Melarkey Dunphy, Meredith Lamothe, Jen Means, Todd Daley and Eric Moody appear to have as much fun as we do with every scene they're in.
Director Brian P. Allen moves his performers around the stage with a professional eye for the perfect pictures, allowing his actors to shine in their individual moments yet not stealing focus from what's important to the scene. Allen keeps the pace moving, delivering the most out of the script, score and characters, giving each actor a solid foundation to create on. Victoria Stubbs (Musical Director) provides a solid sound, both individually and collectively. It was a joy to hear clear diction and perfectly blended harmonies with a great band (Stubbs, John Lawson and William Manning) and no body microphones. The choreography of Tyler Sperry was creative, fun and performed well.
Janet Montgomery (Set Designer) created a beautiful set that was perfect for so many transitions and such a large cast. Iain Odlin (Lighting Designer) did a nice job with color and focus, enhancing the visual concept of Allen and Montgomery. A standing ovation to Justin Cote (Costume Designer) for the hundreds of costumes pieces and many wigs.
The audience loved the show, evident by the continuous laughter and standing ovation. Having never seen or heard the show before, I was thoroughly entertained and highly recommend this show if you want a very fun evening of good theater.
Little Me plays through April 1 at the St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St. Portland. For tickets and information call 885-5883 or go to goodtheater.com.
PHOTO: Stephen Underwood plays multiple roles in the musical comedy, Little Me, produced by the Good Theater of Portland Maine (Craig Robinson Photo).