Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Guys on Ice: The Ice Fishing Musical"

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note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Carl A. Rossi


book and lyrics by Fred Alley
music by James Kaplan
directed by Jason Southerland
choreography by Ilyse Robbins
music direction by Jose Delgado

Marvin Ö Cory Scott
Lloyd Ö Bill Stambaugh
Ernie the Moocher Ö William Gardiner


Piano; Conductor Ö Jose Delgado
Guitar Ö Kevin Grudecki
Bass Ö Ippei Ichimaru
Percussion Ö Mick Lewander

If the late Samuel Beckett ever penned a musical with Garrison Keillor, the results would be GUYS ON ICE: THE ICE FISHING MUSICAL, a ninety-minute sketch in the art of waiting for something to happen: Marvin and Lloyd, two Wisconsin buddies, sit in Marvinís shanty out on a frozen lake, fishing through a hole in the ice and waiting for the perch to bite and for a local TV show host to come and interview them. Marvin and Lloyd drink beer, discuss their women and the Green Bay Packers (not necessarily in that order), swap bad jokes, tolerate a buttinsky aptly named Ernie the Moocher, drink more beer, wait, and voice their thoughts in song --- often. Being so many reflections, Fred Alley and James Kaplanís score does little to advance the minimal plot but how good to encounter a stage-gamble that pays off and be so simple, sweet and good-natured in these dark, cynical days though I must confess that after awhile I, of all people, yearned for a bit of Sondheim to cut through all that cutenessÖ

The Stoneham production is eye-catching with Jenna McFarland Lordís ice-shanty dominating the stage, layered with uncondescending detail, and Corey Scott (Marvin) and Bill Stambaugh (Lloyd) are a winning beagle-and-St. Bernard team. William Gardinerís Ernie the Moocher, bearded and rotund and adorable, merrily steals the show; Ernie may be the walk-on comedy relief but Mr. Gardiner makes him the eveningís most memorable turn. Donít stay away too long during intermission or you may miss Mr. Gardiner hilariously working the audience and even playing a pair of spoons to perfection. If GUYS ON ICE makes me think of the Messrs. Beckett and Keillor, Mr. Gardiner makes me think of Falstaff --- cough, cough, HINT!

"Guys on Ice: The Ice Fishing Musical" (11-28 January)
395 Main Street, STONEHAM, MA
1 (781) 279-2200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New Englandís LIVE Theater Guide