book and lyrics by Jerry Colker music by Michael Rupert.

Finborough Theatre above The Finborough Arms 118 Finborough Road SW10 9ED To 15 December 2015.
Sun-Mon 7.30pm Tue 2pm.
Runs 2hr 10min One interval.

TICKETS: 0844 847 1652.
www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk (no booking fee by ’phone or online).
Review: Timothy Ramsden 7 June.

Naked or not, these Guys give good value.
In this mid-1980s New York musical, Three Guys’ three guys are comedy club aspirants, revelling in seventies style. Ted Klausterman is compère, positive in his patter, with a smile to shame a toothpaste add, while Phil Cunin is Mr Angry, developing comedy from the frustrated fury of daily life in the city.

Kenny Brester doesn’t so much have an act as a series of grisly interruptions to others’ spots. Appearances with a coat assaulted by arrows, or apparently headless, show a depressive nature, his fate following all too logically from this.

By the interval the three have teamed-up, Ted’s connections and the unconventional act built from their styles gaining a primetime TV spot, with Phil incredulous Kenny’s lugubrious contribution is included.

Act Two follows their later work, with its provocations, and leaves a sense of the fragility of a career in entertainment. Jerry Colker and Michael Rupert’s musical has some high-achieving moments, including the contrasted moods in Phil’s ‘Angry Guy, Lovely Day’, where the mood switches back-and-forth between an urban idyll and kneecappings with a baseball bat.

Whether or not Stephen Sondheim would have been proud to have written it, it certainly brings his agility and wit to mind. There’s also a device, used several times, where song seems to grow naturally from rhythmic speech and an underlying percussive beat.

Yet the piece is bound by its format. A single, more economical arch, without the interval and some of the more meandering sections, might have been more impressive overall, though the cast in Joshua Stamp-Simon’s revival work hard to maintain energy, and provide contrast with an infectious commitment.

The production helps bind together a piece which could seem more a pot-pourri of moments within an overall frame – why the decision to go for a Gilbert and Sullivan patter-song (soon dropped, once tried) among these guys?

All sing with skill and conviction while Guy Woolf, in particular, invests Kenny with an outsider’s alert sadness. Out-numbered by a band near twice their size, surrounded by the set of a different play, these Guys makes everything that might be made of the show.

Ted Klausterman: Simon Haines.
Kenny Brester: Guy Woolf.
Phil Kunin: Benedict Hastings.

Director: Joshua Stamp-Simon.
Designer: Anna Reid.
Lighting: Jack Weir.
Musical Director: Josh Sood.
Choreographer: Lindsay McAllister.

2015-12-02 11:19:45

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