Mike Woody reviews latest show at La Comedia Dinner Theatre - ‘Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?’
After having attended shows at La Comedia for nearly two decades, ‘Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?’ was held to a new personal standard. My wife and I (well she did all the work) had twins last month (see pic here!). Hours of consecutive sleep have since been hard to come by, so staying awake, or at least coherent, in the evenings can be a challenge. For our first night out, without the babies, the test was if, ‘Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?’ would be nap inducing or not?
Without being overly flashy, free of any special effects or lavish costumes, plus no strong ballads or memorable songs, ‘Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?’ is still very enjoyable. We didn’t doze off once. The delightful cast and humorous script keeps you drawn in.
A group of seven Catholic school students are followed from the second grade all the way into adulthood. Grown up’s are often accused of acting like a child, in this case its encouraged. Whether it’s from personal experience or not is unknown, but they all excel at it. The casts mannerisms of being overly anxious, easily excitable, and giggly adolescents are spot on. Moments portrayed through the years include the nervousness of their first confession, the awkwardness of sex education, and the stress of senior prom.
At the center of it all is a love story between a pair of classmates; Eddie (Andy Donnelly) & Becky (Meredith Russ) Eddie is an everyday man type, played perfectly by Donnelly. Donnelly has a strong and endearing stage presence. His counterpart, Becky, is chastised for being overweight, but the only thing really heavy about Russ is her charm. Once her wigs are off, and Russ appears as her natural self, her appeal breaks the scales. In the first act their relationship is in the puppy love stage and it grows into a more full sized canine type (with drama) in the second act.
The jokesters in the bunch are Felix (David Thomas), who hits a one-liner about whiffle balls out of the park. Lessons from his older brother provides Felix with a wealth of other material that he proudly shares. Thomas always fills the stage with positive energy and this role is no exception. A number of laughs also come from Louie (Joseph Bill) brings a fun loving nature to the role.
The class also includes Mary (Eva Bower), Virginia (Allison Gabert) and Nancy (Marisha Ruth). They all bring a spirited energy, beautiful vocals, and splendid dance moves to the production.
The staging allows for quick transitions and well-constructed to visually place you in each scene. As always the buffet offers a variety of tasty sensations, including chicken wings with two sauce options.
Whether escaping babies at home or not, ‘Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?’ provides an enjoyable night (or matinee) out. It continues through October 14.