He’s back. From the post-Depression 1930s, the vaudeville stages of London, and the backlots of Hollywood. It’s the man with three eyebrows, in the tuxedo jacket and pin-striped pants, a fat cigar, and an ability to talk underwater. It’s Groucho — one of the non-handsome Marx brothers who lives forever at the heart of 20th Century comedy history.
Spend an energetic two-acts of frenzied hilarity in serial award-winning Frank Ferrante’s ‘An Evening With Groucho’. Direct from Broadway, this slick comedian will have you guffawing in the aisles till they have to force you out of the theatre and back into your own life.
3000+ performances later, Ferrante-as-Groucho wowed Prahran as host impressario. It was not an easy task on a wet November evening, but the crowd were laughing out of their seats.
Ferrante regales you with reflections, impersonations, clowning, and his own personal connection to the Groucho story. Hear of Groucho’s highs and lows. His foils: the other Marx Brothers, Margaret Dumont. His toils: early days touring in vaudeville, knockbacks, and later limitations. And his spoils: three marriages across 47 years; watching an early Charlie Chaplin perform; testing out their later cinematic triumphs on the road, and working with the who’s who of great comedy writers. Famous songs and scenes are all recreated.
Supported in his tomfoolery by a pianist, Ferrante leaps about like a trained gymnast with the flair of an elegant ballet dancer (he made it over the chaise lounge, and performs gymnasia atop the piano). He sings boldly. His eye contact is good, too — especially when he follows latecomers to their seats or plucks a young actor out of the crowd for a taste of the greasepaint!
Simple clowning had me in tears. When his derriere plays the piano, or when he steps into the spotlight unable to utter a word. Innocent humourprovided a welcome remedy for our darkened times.
Aside from looking like a replica, Ferrante shows us empathy, too — for the comedian as man, the genre, and the historical culture and family from which the brothers sprang. He talks direct to us; it feels unrehearsed. Ferrante has interaction at the level of a magician. The artist speaks sincerely to his audience.
See one of the greats impersonate ‘One of the Greats’. Witness a showcase of the skills, finesse, and derring-do of the comedian par excellence, a tradition Groucho himself personified. Leave with your mouth open and aching from the smiles.
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope.