Theatre Mirror Reviews - "When Pigs Fly"

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note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Alexander Wright

Luscious Lyric Stage Satire Takes Flight
"When Pigs Fly"

A Minority Report by Beverly Creasey

"When Pigs Fly" is the savagely funny musical revue all those other revues want to be. The consummate blend of political satire and outrageous comic invention, "Pigs" is the precious brainchild of Mark Waldrup and the late Howard Crabtree ---who lives on as the leading character in "Pigs".

Howard (played by the baby-faced Dan Bolton) follows his dream despite some mean-spirited advice from a guidance council (played by the hilarious Britton White) who advocates plumbing as a vocation. (Thank heavens or we wouldn't have this show or the sensational "Whoop-Dee-Do!")

Five dynamos brave constricting corsets, perilous high heels, and wigs taller than they are to impersonate all the fabulous characters in Crabtree's wonderful imagination. Oh....Did I mention they're all guys? Did I mention Crabtree's over-the-top and off-the-bottom costumes? Did I mention the gorgeous gams and non-stop laughter? It is. They are. And you will.

Mark Waldrop's sardonic lyrics (to Dick Gallagher's witty music) are nothing to sneeze at. He scores a lot of political points with naughty songs like "Light in The Loafers" (positively electric!) and his righteous patriotic paean to the states (Move over, George M!). Everyone from Isaac Hayes to Rush Limbaugh is sent up ...but none so deliciously as in peter A. Carey's dead-on torch songs, dedicated to the notorious Newt and the antediluvian Strom.

Director Rob Ruggiero's cast is perfection: From Peter Carey's elegant crooner to his vampy Bette Davis, he never misses a beat. Neil A. Casey, too, is divine as an ageing Annie, as a voluptuous mermaid with a fit of pique, and as the adorable earthbound porker of the title. Dan Bolton plays earnest like nobody's business, and he can sing! (There must be a "Will Rogers Follies" in Bolton's future!) All five performers are familiar to us fans of musicals, but never have any of them sounded better. Credit for this goes to musical director Steven Bergman ... for the spirited piano accompaniment, but mostly for the acoustic balance between piano and voice. Britton White's tenor has never sounded sweeter, and he's never looked buffer for that matter. (Oops. excuse me.)

Scott fisher Muscles into glamour territory in his big number "Bigger Is Better" ......but at the heart of the show are those dressers, who must be getting psychotherapy after each performance. It's two days later and I'm still exhausted from all the costume changes. And I'll still be giggling next week.

"When Pigs Fly" (till 17 May)
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide