Go see “Pal Joey” at the Ring Theatre this week if you’re looking for some good music and a few laughs. Just don’t expect much more.
The theater’s final production of the season seemed to fall short of some of the superb performances put on over the past two semesters. The cast seemed to lack the chemistry that it takes to make a great show.
Relationships appeared forced and the audience is made to jump too quickly toward the end, being given next to no explanation as to why both of Joey’s romantic interests have turned on him. Even lead Joey Barreiro’s charming smile and voice did not compensate for the cheesy manner in which so much of his dialogue was delivered.
“Pal Joey” does have its merits. The musical performances were superb, both by the actors and the accompanying band whose live music helped to keep the audience engaged. And seeing Associate Dean Rita Deutsch dressed as a 1940s, high-society woman may well have been the highlight of my week.
In the end, the real hit of the show was Sammy Courtright’s portrayal of Vera Simpson, an upperclass, neglected, adulterous wife. She had excellent stage presence, but it was her renditions of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “What is a Man,” blew me away. After each of her songs, it was difficult not to sneak a peek at the playbill to see when the next one would be.
The show has its ups and downs and I ended up feeling indifferent, although it may be worth watching so that you can decide for yourself.
Maybe I’m still just trying to stop laughing at February’s “Lysistrata.”
Margaux Herrera may be contacted at email@example.com.