Review: GRUMPY OLD MEN at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

By: Feb. 20, 2020
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Review: GRUMPY OLD MEN at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

One of the Act 1 numbers in Grumpy Old Men the Musical is titled, "I Like The Way Things Are". The lyrics deal with a dislike for change and a strong appreciation for "the good old days". This message could also extend to the musical itself. The show is based on the very funny and very popular 1993 movie of the same name starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and Ann-Margret. It begs the question, why mess with success?

John and Max are long time neighbors and "frenemies" due to a decades old squabble involving a woman that both men loved. Max is played by Rob Summers who is a convincing and cantankerous sour puss. However, John is sorely miscast by Luther Chakurian who never comes across as either "grumpy" or "old". Neither his looks, voice ,or mannerisms remotely suggests a card carrying member of AARP. Therefore, many of the jokes about things like his deteriorating health don't really land.

Miranda Jane plays Ariel Traux, the redheaded vixen and new neighbor that gets both guys all hot and bothered. Jane looks amazing in many of her sleek outfits. She has a great way of slinking around the stage, and it is easy to see why she would be a better catch then anything the guys might get while ice fishing.

Another questionable casting decision was the overabundance of supporting male characters with very similar appearances. Bob Marcus, John Payonk, and Dale Given are all quite "Santa Claus-ish" in looks, and it was difficult at times to peg immediately which actor was on stage. While this is no criticism of their talent, it caused some unnecessary confusion more than once.

Madeline Canfield and Troy Bruchwalski play the adult children of John and Max. Both actors are effective in their parts and serve as an interesting diversion from the constant bickering of their dads. Local, Tricia Corcoran is very funny as the goofy bait-shop employee, Punky. Many of her lines were so random, it seemed as if they were improvised (in a good kind of way).

JP Meyer and the five-piece orchestra do a great job at creating a very full sound. However, the songs were serviceable, and there was nothing that stuck in my head after the final curtain fell.

Grumpy Old Men is not a bad show, but Dutch Apple has done a lot better. It has some interesting parts, but not enough for a full recommendation from this grumpy, middle-aged critic.

Tickets and more information can be found at Dutch Apple's website.