Friday, September 25, 2015

Millbrook: "Route 66"

It's time to "get your kicks" on Route 66, the Roger Bean musical revue now showing in Millbrook under A. John Collier's direction and finely rendered scenic design. -- Little more than a compilation of 30+ songs from the 1950s and 1960s, its premise is a cross-country road trip along the famous Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.

With a talented cast of four -- Jody Dow, Tina Hosey, Michael Snead, Pat VanCor -- who perform in solos and in various combinations, the trip and their songs are connected by an assortment of period radio advertisements for Chevrolets, "a little dab 'l do ya" Brylcreem hair-gel for men, "let Hertz put you in the driver's seat", Firestone tires "where the rubber hits the road", Delco batteries, and Uniflo motor oil among them: a nostalgic treat for audience members of a certain age.

Some of the better moments in this pleasant two act show are: a sensitive version of "Mother Road", clever novelty numbers "Beep-Beep" and "Long Tall Texan", a hilarious "Rolaids, Doan's Pills, and Preparation-H", the touching "Oklahoma Hills", and popular foot-stompin' renditions of "Fun-Fun-Fun" and "I Get Around".

While a few of the pieces are performed with solo acoustic guitar accompaniment, the ensemble sings mainly to an over-amplified pre-recorded soundtrack that unfortunately distorts much of their sound. And the static-filled radio advertisements are also disarmingly loud, making the words almost unintelligible.

All in all, though, Route 66 is a diverting entertainment. Thrown in with the ticket price is a Southern style dinner catered by Felicia Swanner of Swanner's Catering, making an evening out complete.