Reviewer: Janet Martineau
Venue: Creative 360
It was a tossup … the groans, the laughter or shout outs emanating the most from the capacity audience Friday night when Creative 360 hosted another of its Old Time Radio presentations.
Methinks the groans won out during the “Abbott & Costello” evening featuring a handful of routines from the legacy of 1940s-1950s comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Really bad (meaning good) one liners from the dumber-than-Gracie-Allen Costello amid the growing frustration of Abbott.
No, says Costello, he can’t hunt bear (bare) because the bushes tickle him.
The 60-minute performance also included convincing dog barking by sound effects guru Cheryl Felch and cast member David Ritter; old time radio commercials for Pepsi, Brylcreem, Chiquita bananas and Halo shampoo and other musical ditties sung by the trio of Carol Rumba, JoAnn Pobocik and Terri Schroeder; an unexpected massive scream by the entire cast; the audience chipping in unprovoked on the commercials and songs and some of the still-familiar lines to those of us of a certain age (old); sides left aching from the laughing thanks to the brilliant delivery of John McPeak as Costello and John Tanner as Abbott.
There were routines about working at a bakery and a fire station, running a lunch wagon and, of course, that wonderful “who’s on first” with with Loons baseball caps as part of the costuming. Ritter nicely played a variety of fun characters, some of them with accents and assorted hats, as well as a dog and a bear.
Strung together it becomes obvious that the team’s running routines always included Costello slaughtering the English language much to the frustration of Abbott trying to unsuccessfully make sense of it and him.
At one point Tanner absolutely lost it over an exchange about garlic. Whether he was really cracked up by a possible ad-lib from McPeak or if indeed it was just good scripting, it was still fun. And at another point one of the cast members injected “who wrote this stuff.” Again, an honest reaction or part of the script ? Who cares. It was hilarious and spot on either way.
One of the routines involved adopting a dog to protect the butter in the lunch wagon, and things got really cuckoo. How about a crocker spaniel or a dockshund.
Plain innocent humor… in such short supply these days.
Old Time Radio at Creative 360 has previously visited “The Shadow,” “Inner Sanctum” and “Gunsmoke.” And coming up in July is an outing with “Sherlock Holmes.”