BWW Review: ANIMAL CRACKERS at Mad Cow Theatre
Mad Cow Theatre continues its twentieth season with ANIMAL CRACKERS, a musical adapted from the Marx Brothers' film of the same name. The plot centers around a party honoring Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding, which is attended by larger-than-life guests, originally played by the Marx Brothers. Mad Cow is known for producing lesser-known shows. ANIMAL CRACKERS was originally produced on Broadway in 1928, before the Golden Age of musicals. It has a vaudeville feel--broad comedy, from puns to prop comedy to outrageous physical humor.
As soon as you walk into the theater, you're immersed in an old Hollywood atmosphere. Period music plays in the lobby. The simple art deco set, glamorous costumes, and stylized acting are all reminiscent of the era. The cast is incredibly high energy, and fully committed to the style, helping the audience escape to the 1920's.
Jeffrey Todd Parrott (Groucho/Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding/King of France) has an amazing old Hollywood dialect and singing style, adding flourishes to his solos that represent the era.
Romantic duets between Adam Reilly (Zeppo/John Parker/Horatius Jamison/Musketeer/Butler) and Margaret Cross (Grace Carpenter/Mary Stewart/Girl A) are high points of the show. They have great chemistry, and both actors have incredible singing voices.
Hands down, even without any lines, Adam Scharf (Harpo/The Professor/Musketeer/Guest B) stole the show. His amazing physical comedy left the audience in stitches. Scharf is incredibly loveable, and has great stage presence.
Don't miss this chance to escape to the 1920's!
ANIMAL CRACKERS runs at the Mad Cow Theatre through July 2. For more information, visit madcowtheatre.com.
Photo: Tom Hurst