note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Beverly Creasey
Sometimes the best shows in town are out of town, in small theaters like Newton’s Turtle Lane Playhouse. The TLP’s sizzling version of AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ should be on your list of must-see musicals this fall.
You could see the Fats Waller revue a hundred times and never get tired of the gorgeous music and spirited shenanigans. If you’ve never experienced the mega-watt show, now is the time. The TLP cast can jitterbug and sing like nobody’s business, or as Fats himself famously said, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business if I do.”
Director Darius Omar Williams and choreographer Jackie Davis turn on the heat and the five member ensemble pour it on---in stunning numbers like “The Viper’s Drag” (Keyon Richardson blows the roof off the joint) and in the show stopping act closer, “The Joint in Jumpin.”
Robin Welch and Tracy Silva heat up the stage with a sexy, sassy double entendre-laden “Honeysuckle Rose”. Anich D’Jae has a vocal range (from sultry lows to chirpy sky highs) only surpassed by her funny bone-- in hilarious numbers like “When the Nylons Bloom Again.” Silva knocks one out of the ball park for the war effort, as well, with “Cash for your Trash.”
Kerri Wilson can dance up a storm and still have lung power for the next song. Her sweet, guileless “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now” lets the elegant lyrics stand by themselves, with her straightforward delivery powering the music. The three women tap a mean time step, then Charleston to beat the band (conducted by TLP in house guru, Wayne Ward). When Fats wrote “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around,” he wasn’t kidding. You’ll be tapping your toes and humming along.
Waller didn’t write only novelty songs, like the outrageous “Your Feet’s Too Big,” which Welch delivers in grand style. Waller could break your heart with an exquisitely harmonic indictment of racism. “Black and Blue” brings the hilarity to a hush and a lump to your throat. Richard Itczak’s glittery satin costumes for the women, including million dollar finery for everyone for the “Waldorf” number, as well as John MacKenzie’s subtle lighting and Richard Daheny’s sumptuous set smartly evoke the jazz era. AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ plays through October 15th.