The Most Ridiculous Thing You Ever Hoid: Marx Brothers at NY Musical Theatre Festival
Oscar E. Moore “from the rear mezzanine” for Talk Entertainment.com
As part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, “The Most Ridiculous Thing You Ever Hoid” harkens back to the days of yore where The Five Star Radio Theatre offered up free entertainment. In this case The Marx Brothers.
Creators Andy Seiler (Book & Lyrics) Jim Beckerman (Book, Music & Lyrics) and Fred Wemyss (Book) have based this loony, zany and fun show on “The Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel” 1932 radio series where Grouch as a shifty lawyer and Chico his shifty assistant had a one season run that left 26 episodes to mine.
From the moment Erik Lieberman enters as Groucho you just know you are in for a good time. Mr. Lieberman is the embodiment of Mr. Marx. He has the look, the comic timing and the personality down pat. This is a close to a cloning as you can get. He is aided and abetted in his antics by Jared Miller (Chico/Ravelli) and Jonathan Randall Silver as the horn honking Harpo who is in charge of the sound effects. The rest of the cast couldn’t be better to bring to life the endless groan inducing gags, double entendres, puns and play on words and zany antics of the ridiculous plot.
Mrs. Van Regal (Liliane Klein) – the Margaret Dumont type character who is the comic foil for Groucho is planning her daughter Kitty’s (Ashley Fox Linton) wedding to Broadway show tune writer Carlyle (Warren Freeman) and hires Chico to guard her family diamond. Radio announcer John Fico plays multiple roles to the hilt as does Michelle Pruiett. As part of the Oil Well Sisters who sing the commercials along with Ms. Klein and Ms. Linton they are a harmonious hoot.
At times the radio series becomes a bit tedious and too long before we get to the wonderful period songs and production “novelty” numbers – “Babes in Baghdad” and “Slimy Rhythm” - which are terrifically staged by director Donald Brenner.
“The Most Ridiculous Thing You Ever Hoid” is just that. And tons of fun. At Urban Stages.