For laughs, venture beyond Broad Street
January 17, 2013
When you walk into Off Broadstreet Theatre, you know you're in for an interesting experience. First, there is the warm, cabaret atmosphere with table seating, show posters mounted on the walls and a glittering, starry ceiling. Then there is Chris Crockett on stage, strumming guitar and singing, to set a happy mood before the main show. And there are the scurrying servers, who will happily bring you an alcoholic (or not) beverage of your choice — we selected cups of tasty hot chocolate. Plus, at intermission, you can order a decadent dessert — try the fabulous Maui Pie!
When the house lights dim, the spotlight shines on the newest of John Driscoll's musical comedies, "Knockoffs at The Pina Colada." Driscoll, who co-owns Off Broadstreet with his wife, Jan Kopp, has been writing and directing amusements for Off Broadstreet for 24 years, so it's obvious that his wit and breadth of knowledge of pop music resonate with the public.
This current show contains the usual Driscoll flair — comic yet sympathetic characters who experience tribulations but resolve them happily, all while singing and dancing to popular songs from the 1950s through the '90s.
The show opens with Roxanne and Andrew practicing a song and dance routine in a bar that they manage, located in a coastal Mexican town. The two are supposed to create a fabulous show in order to capture the attention of visiting multi-millionaire investors. During their rehearsal, a newly married young couple — Darcy and Tim — show up, and Roxanne and Andrew think the newlyweds are part of the investor group. They aren't, but not to give away the story, I'll just say that things aren't what they appear, and all four characters end up putting on a celebrity impersonator show to entice the investors.
When there are only four people to carry a musical comedy, they must be top notch performers and singers. No problem here as these are some of the best actors and songsters in Northern California. The always funny and campy Nancy Keith (Roxanne) has been successfully performing with Off Broadstreet for years. The versatile Jed Dixon (Andrew), equally comfortable in dramatic or comedic roles, has an extensive vocal range, along with a face and body that can contort uproariously. They are joined by the talented Lyra Dominquez (Darcy), who can equally well vocalize operatic arias or ABBA numbers, and Danny McCammon (Tim), who has become the rising star in Nevada County for his exceptional dramatic, comedic and vocal attributes. This is a show that's energetic, feel-good and funny, resulting in broad smiles on audience members' faces.
In addition, the many costume changes — the wigs alone caused loud guffaws — and the spot-on impersonations of well known entertainers (Jay Leno, Andrea Bocelli, Antonio Banderas, Mae West, Elvis and more) keep the laughs coming. The show starts off a tad slowly, necessary in order to set up the comedy's premise, but then evolves into a musical whirlwind.
If you want a fun, very enjoyable night out, make your reservation soon at Off Broadstreet. The show continues Fridays and Saturdays only through Feb. 16.
Hindi Greenberg greatly admires people with fine voices and wishes she could sing but, even in audience sing-alongs, merely hums very softly. However, she is prone to laugh loudly when amused.
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