Theatre Mirror Reviews - "That's What Women Get Ya"

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entire contents copyright 2005 by Tony Annicone

"That's What Women Get Ya"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Mill River Dinner Theater's current show is a romantic musical comedy called "That's What Women Get Ya". It is set in 1939 and is a campy, tongue in cheek comedy which pokes fun at the romantic comedies of yesteryear. Bailey's restaurant is known for its soup, however when Mr. Bailey passes away, the famous recipe can't be found by his son, Stewart. A society debutante has her eye on both the recipe and the son, planning on marrying him. Throw in an undercover reporter disguised as a waitress, a harried newspaper editor, a tasteless food critic and a humble bartender and these are the ingredients in this clever show with some blues, jazz and ballads as some of the savory songs. Director Chuck PetitBon not only directs this show but built a gorgeous restaurant set as well as a newspaper set to make the scenes flow into one another, giving the audience an after dinner treat as they look back at the fun filled 1930's with his talented cast.

The show begins with a pantomime to show the father's funeral and Stewart's frantic search for the soup du jour recipe. Paul Morin not only plays Stewart but also musically directed the show. He recorded the tracks of the songs beautifully and it sounds as if its done live. Paul's tenor voice soars in his numbers from his solos "Where?" as he searches for the recipe, "In Love With Kate" as he finally falls in love with the girl of his dreams, "So Sorry, Tiffany" as he dumps his bitchy fiancee, to the title number duet with Tom Lavallee as Franklin O'Shea, the tres gay bartender. In the latter number which sounds like "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" or "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid", Paul and Tom come into the audience as they deliver the clever melody and lyrics to the crowd. Tom is a hoot as this comic character and also gets to show off his strong tenor voice in his numbers, including two gorgeous ballads. The first is an Irish song called "The Wedding Toast" and the latter is "Look Behind the Face". Besides the comic title song, Paul and Tom do a trio with Staci Watkinson called "Mr. Chaplin Wait Your Turn" as the guys sing and dance like Chaplin with canes. There is also a take off on Chaplin's song "Smile" which is sung within this song. Staci is a gorgeous blonde with a lovely soprano voice which she uses in the group songs and in "Write the Story" which sounds like "Waitin for the Robert E. Lee" and the love song with Paul at the close of the show. She and Paul have wonderful chemistry together, making the love story click in this show.

The shrewish, whining fiancee, Tiffany is well played by Michele Graf. She makes the character come to life in her blustery scenes with Paul. Michele gets to show off her voice in "The Nothin' to Complain about Blues" where all she does is complain. Lee Rush is hilarious as the Joan Crawford like grande dame of the newspaper racket as she enters all her scenes in a grand flourish. She gets to show off her voice in the "Soup Montage" where the ensemble constantly moves about the stage while shaking their hips to the song as well as in the duet number called "A Lovely Scandal" where she and Alex Aponte sing about how they love to ruin people's lives with their tales. They dance during this number with hats and canes which is very funny. Alex plays the constantly worried newspaper editor who needs his reporters to scoop the other papers in town so they can sell more papers. Besides his duet with Lee, he also sings the opening number with Staci called "The Scoop on Soup". Before the show Chuck prepares the sumptuous dinner which includes all you can eat chicken vegetable soup, warm Italian bread, carrots, oven baked white and sweet potatoes as well as five different entrees. I had the stuffed breast of chicken with wild rice and gravy and for dessert a home made apple turnover and coffee. Heather Carey is the hard working stage manager and Marcia PetitBon and Gert Dumont supply the lovely period costumes. So for wonderful dinnertainment, be sure to catch this clever musical at Mill River Dinner Theater.

"That's What Women Get Ya" (9 September - 16 October)
499 High Street, CENTRAL FALLS RI
1(401) 721-0909

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide