Audiences are doing double takes at the fast-paced, laugh-a-minute musical
By LEE JUILLERAT
heraldandnews.com Regional Editor - February 20, 2014
It takes two to tango, but it also takes two to tangle in “Double Trouble,” aptly subtitled “A Musical Tour-de-Farce,” at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland.
Audiences are doing double takes at the fast-paced, laugh-a-minute musical. Set in 1941, songwriting brothers Jimmy and Bobby Martin are newly arrived in Hollywood from Broadway when they’re told to create a hit song by the afternoon or find a new job.
Over the next two hours the twosome experience double trouble multiplied as they contend and sometimes work with an odd assortment of nine other characters. What gives “Double Trouble” extra punch is the two actors, Galen Schloming and John Keating, romping on and off stage, taking on the roles of 11 very different people.
There’s slapstick, physical comedy, singing and dancing, cross dressing, sexual innuendos, broad humor and puns galore. Samples:
“You spilled coffee on the piano!” one of brothers worries. “It’ll be up all night.”
“With one drink I feel it,” purrs the flirting, seductive Rebecca LeFleurdelaMaganis while charming one of the brothers. “With two drinks, anyone can feel it.”
“Your face looks a little pail,” wisecracks brother Bobby as the appropriately fast-talking agent Swifty Morris stumbles out of a broom closet with, you guessed it, a bucket covering his noggin.
“I’m so old the Dead Sea wasn’t even sick yet,” grumbles a rather grave Bix Minky.
When an older person is asked why she and her husband were divorced after 75 years of marriage, the deadpan answer is, “We wanted to wait ‘til the kids were dead.”
And, shortly after the brothers arrive and are dazzled by the parade of wannabe starlets, one says to the other, “Would you take a look at that brunette.” “No,” stammers the other brother, “I haven’t taken my eye off the blonde yet.”
“Double Trouble” is the creation of writer-brothers Bob and Jim Walton. Keeping the story flowing is director Jim Giancarlo, the Cabaret’s artistic director. As always, Giancarlo’s choreography taps Keating’s and Schloming’s abilities and showcases Kerri Lea Robbins’ costumes.
Less heralded are dressers Stephanie Jones and Maureen Vaughey, a pair of earthy changelings who work miracles seamlessly transforming the brothers into femme fatales, a stumble-bumbling sound engineer, a full-of-himself film director, dictatorial studio boss, gee-whiz intern and more. Fittingly, they make a few stage appearances of their own.
The quick changes add another layer of humor because some of the characters, understandably, never meet each other.
“We’re so much alike, sometimes I think I’m him,” Seymour Beckley, the nerdy intern, tells Bobby of impersonating Jimmy.
When Jimmy is in the sound booth with a dummy sound engineer, he tells his brother, “It’s like I’m talking to myself.”
And, because the brothers take turns playing Rebecca, the scheming movie star, Bobby/Rebecca confides to Jimmy, “I’m not the same woman I was 10 minutes ago.”
The songs are fun and delightful, from the opening “Just the Two of Us” with Jimmy and Bobby to “First Class Love” about falling in love on an airplane, two versions of “You Can Do Anything,” “Cold Sesame Noodles,” and a very speedy version of “Let’s Take it Slow.”
“Double Trouble” moves fast, and gives a new appreciation for addition. With all the character changes, 1 and 1 equals 11.