Ah nostalgia! Those with a penchant for the past ought to do more than “Walk on By” (Where is Dionne Warwick these days?: cross-reference below) this overflowing revue of ‘60s pop songs. Like the points on Whose Line Is it Anyway? (itself set to be reborn shortly under the leadership of funnyman Colin Mochrie) it’s all about the material: the plot doesn’t matter.
Take a birthday from hell (Cindy’s—energetically performed by Alison MacDonald—“Baby It’s You” indeed), add two competing angels from heaven (Tracy Michailidis makes for an engaging Dee Dee—replete with flight attendant chapeau that has resurfaced on Porter Airlines; as Marge, Kristin Galer provides much of the vocal power and character colour as both celestial bodies are “Wishing and Hoping” for a successful earthly mission) and you have the component parts for Andrews Sisters ensemble.
Toss in a multipurpose man (Daniel Falk ever-radiant and happy to oblige) and even a wee bit of demur drag (director Greg Wanless never misses an opportunity to demonstrate that “You Don’t Own Me”) and the stage is set to discover just “Where the Boys Are” and “The Look of Love.”
Is that's not enough, savour the carefully crafted footwork that permeates Ramona Gilmlour-Darlings' inventive choreography.
Not to be outdone, set and costume designer Sean Mulachy has cobbled together a My Beautiful Laundrette for the ages that is entirely “Wonderful, Wonderful.”
The offstage band (Sandy Thorburn, keyboards; Greg Runions, drums; Paul Barton, guitar) pounds out the four-dozen charts with ideal style and unbending enthusiasm (with just a tad too much bass on occasion overpowering the vocals).
The large crowd ate up every lyric and melody—most of them retracing their own steps down memory lane as the well-known songs triggered hundreds of associations, perhaps even through their own long ago “Chapel of Love.”
Created and written by Melinda Glib, Steve Gunderson (who also arranged all aspects of the music) and Bryan Scott, the only false note came with the early-on depiction of a distraught Cindy’s suicide attempts. Sadly, there are so many real-life examples of too-early, self-inflicted deaths streaming through the media, that the jokes (notably being “strangled” by the washer) produced more chills than yuks.
That quibble aside, this flighty stroll down Memory Lane (“Round Every Corner” because “There’s Always Something There to Remind Me”) is heartily recommended. JWR