BY GEORGE J. DACRE
Penguin Repertory’s production of the “Fabulous Lipitones” brings to the table good old fashioned barbershop harmony, lots of laughs and all-around enjoyable theatre.
The Fabulous Lipitones, a barbershop harmony group, are in search of a fourth member, following the death of one of the original members of the quartet. It doesn’t take long for a very interesting candidate to show up for the open slot in the person of actor Rachid Sabiti as Bob, a Sikh born in India, who doesn’t quite fit the pattern or culture of the existing Lipitones. Phil (P.J. Benjamin) wants to take him in, while Howard (Scott Mikita) is not so enthusiastic. Bob is too far out and Howard doubts he’ll last with the band. Wally (Joe Ricci) sides with Phil and eventually Howard gives in.
Rachid is a very funny actor and a great singer as he adds something to the Lipitones they never had before. Meanwhile Wally is a man “without a life” and Phil is wishy washy. The dialogue between the four actors is hilarious and mixed in with their renditions of such oldies as “Wait Till The Sunshines, Nellie,” “After You’ve Gone,” “I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad,” “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and more.
The writing of John Markus (“The Cosby Show”) and Mark St. Germain (“Freud’s Last Season,” “Becoming Dr. Ruth”) is clever as you might expect from such strong pedigree. All told the show makes for a fun night of music and comedy, as the Lipitones seek quartet greatness in a major competition. Their arch rivals are known as the SOBs.
Direction by Peter Flynn is flawless as he gets the most out of the actor/singers. Dan Pardo’s musical arrangement is on the mark. Benjamin, Mikita, Ricci and Sabitri work well together and ultimately that’s what makes this show work.
I rate it Three Stars Out of Four. Catch it weekends through August 31 at Penguin Rep on Cricketown Road in Stony Point. Tickets at www.penguinrep.org or 845-786-2873.