Five Course Love
By Gregg Coffin
Directed by Michael Edwards
Musical Directing by Chris Leavy
Choreography by Roy Alan
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park Fl.
Sometimes love is cute, sometimes it’s funny and tonight it’s both. On a cloudy night in an unnamed city, a statically significant selection of ethnic types meets up at restaurants to resolve their innermost hormonal conflicts. Nerdish Matt (Christopher Alan Norton) mistakenly meets shit kicker Barbie (Michelle Knight). I thought they had promise but she didn’t and maître de Dean (Mark Baratelli) is philosophical, but leaves to deal with “problems in the kitchen.” So what to do? Sing a few songs, backed by the duo of Chris “Keys” Leavy and Sam “Chimes” Forrest. The songs are cute and as Country Western authentic as this group of Broadway refugees can make it – Baratelli looks like he’s never seen Gunsmoke, Barbie barely keeps on her pink hat with the faux rattlesnake band, and Norton seems the very model of a modern middle manager.
The trio returns again and again, next as an episode of the Sopranos, then an ambiguous Cabaret-style Schuplattlerfest, a swashbuckling date with Zorro and finally the fabled Lost Act of Grease, with a happy ending for one and all. The music is crisp, the songs funny and hummable and the performance as good as any we’ve seen. My favorite segment came in the Schaufinkle Klub, with Baratelli in lederhosen and Knight with her crop and bustier singing the Der Bumsen-Kratzentanz. It was the spitze der Abend, but don’t type it into Google translate. Other great songs like “The Blue Flame,” “I Loved You When I Though You We’re Named Ken,” and “True Love At The Star-Lite Tonight” kept the joy flowing and the crowd ate it up. This is another rockem’, sockem’ comedy that has just enough sex to keep you interested but not enough to make your wife slap you for looking. This show is selling out, don’t wait to sign up.
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org