Theatre Mirror Review "The Brothers Marx"

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entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"The Brothers Marx"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Daydream Theatre Company's fall production is "The Brothers Marx", a play written and directed by Lenny Schwartz. "The Brothers Marx" is a comedic biography play about The Marx Brothers, who were comedians in vaudeville who eventually became film stars. The audience sees how Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo rose to fame. Lenny puts some of the classic Marx Brothers gags onstage in his show. He also explores a more dramatic slant on how their relationship as brothers starts to quietly separate as they grow older and their interests as performers change.  Lenny blends the comic and some poignant moments together splendidly in this original play. He has a keen eye for comedy and this show is a true testament to his comic genius. Lenny takes his 17 high energy member cast on a merry madcap romp to entertain the audience all night long with some of the best Marx Brothers moments brought back to life in his show as well as touching moments. He creates a well balanced show with the characterizations of his cast and his attention to the historical details of the Marx Brothers lives.

Lenny brings out the best in his cast members. Some of the clever routines include the mirror image gag with Chico, Harpo and Groucho and some clever lines from their many movies. The talented performers playing the brothers are Ryan Hanley as Groucho, Beatriz Lopez as Harpo, Geoffrey David Monti as Chico, Mat Clerrico as Zeppo and John Faiola as Gummo. Ryan commands the stage in this huge role with his rapid one liner delivery. Groucho is not a likeable man to his brothers although he was a comic genius with his audience. Ryan captures the dichotomy of this man, including his rocky marriages and the final girl, Erin who gave him his comeuppance at the end of his life. The tearjerking deaths of Chico and Harpo are beautifully handled by them, eliciting tears from the audience. Beatriz is splendid as the loveable rascal, Harpo who doesn't utter a word. However with her dynamic portrayal she works her magic on the audience, making her a favorite Marx brother. Geoffrey shines as the womanizing, gambling Chico. He chases women around the stage and through the audience. The despair Geoffrey displays at the final breakup of the brothers is wonderful as are his many comic lines.

Mat as Zeppo brings the pathos out when talking about the death of their mother which is a stand out moment and another touching scene is when he describes their father's death. Groucho stole his first girlfriend and sets them at odds with each other. Although Zeppo was considered the least talented brother, Mat is very talented as the straight man with all the crazy antics around him. His line delivery is topnotch. John does a wonderful job as Gummo who left the act after ten years, joined the army and later became an agent.All seventeen performers do topnotch work. A couple of scene stealers are Kathleen Seagriff as Margaret Dumont with her manic portrayal as the doyenne and Ben Royer as Alexander Wolcott who worshipped the ground Harpo walked on. Kudos to one and all who make this a must see show for all Marx Brothers aficionados. Be sure to catch "The Brothers Marx" for a well written, well performed original show that will knock your socks off

"The Brothers Marx" (1 - 17 November)
DAYDREAM THEASTRE COMPANY
@ Bell Street Chapel, 5 Bell Street, PROVIDENCE RI
1(401)290-7865

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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