Whether you have been loving Lucy for 60 years, or you've always wondered what the fuss is all about, there is a show which is sure to give you a whole evening of laughs, playing in Buffalo through Oct. 13.
"I Love Lucy - Live on Stage" allows you to watch the filming of two original episodes of the classic television comedy, as though you had made the journey to Hollywood in the early 1950s.
We got to watch one episode from the first season of the show, and one from the third season. Not only did we see the classic scripts performed, we got to watch an announcer who warmed up the audience and provided explanations of the technical events taking place. We got to watch a chorus of singers and dancers who performed commercial jingles which would have accompanied the original show. Remember "Halo, everybody, Halo?" How about "Mr. Clean Gets Rid of Dirt and Grime ...?"
The four principal actors brought the familiar characters from the show to life. They didn't do imitations of the actors who played the role, but they have absorbed so many of the little tics and vocal inflections of the originals, that it really brought it all back to life.
Sirena Irwin bore the heaviest burden, as she was playing Lucy Ricardo. She had mastered all the phony crying, the wacky facial expressions, and the horrible, off-key singing, but like the character she was playing, when it came time, she was one heck of a dancer and her singing could suddenly go right on pitch. The physical comedy of the dance number in which Lucy performed with a professional jitterbug dancer after having had drops put into her eyes which left her blind, was the highlight of the evening, for me.
Bill Mendieta produced the famed mangled English with which we came to know Ricky Ricardo, Lucy's Cuban husband, and he largely played the straight man with excellent timing. His singing of the nightclub songs of his character was first rate.
Kevin Remington and Joanna Daniels played Fred and Ethel Mertz, the Ricardo's landlords and partners in crime, and both embodied other people in another era, with style.
The members of the chorus were attractive and versatile, and played both the chorus and a myriad of minor characters in the shows, easily and charmingly.
I had a great time, and laughed through the whole thing. I suspect you will, as well, if you get to go.
"I Love Lucy - Live on Stage" is being performed in the 710 Main Theatre at 710 Main St., which used to be Studio Arena Theater. Such skilled performing on a stage so filled with happy memories just made for one fantastic night out.