Karen’s review of Animal Crackers:
Although I may have seen the Marx Brothers film by this name, I have no independent memory of it. I was assured by a fellow theatre-goer that the play we saw that night bore only the faintest resemblance to the movie. I settled in to enjoy two and a half hours of pure entertainment by a cast with boundless energy and enthusiasm for the material and its historical importance in the American theatrical tradition. And, they hit every single nail squarely on its head.
The first visual joke got the audience in the mood; the second had us smiling. The third followed quickly behind but the fourth, entirely unexpected and “over the top,” brought forth a roar of approval. The jokes never stopped coming and the audience never stopped laughing.
I had been warned that the play was too full of “schtick and slapstick” but I was not of that opinion. There is plenty of physical humor, yes. But there is lots of verbal jousting as well, including puns galore. And all of the skits and double talk and “business” that these brothers made famous in variety shows and vaudeville, in television and the movies, are on display, along with the individual characteristics and mannerisms of each one of the four.
The five piece on-stage orchestra was a delightful accompaniment to the songs of the time period. All of the actors had excellent voices and the choreography was apropos to both the action and era. Mark Bedard, the Groucho character, had all of the movements, facial expressions and verbal intonations we expect to see, as did Brent Hinkley (Harpo), John Tufts (Chico) and Eddie Lopez (Zeppo).
This show was like taking a stroll through comedy memory lane and laughing all the way. I had a terrific time and so did everyone around me.