Brown Musical `Tomfoolery' offers a rollickin' good time

by Noelle Berryman

Brown College's production of Tom Lehrer's Tomfoolery opened last Thusday. It is directed by Brown resident associate Dan West and is adapted by Cameron Macintosh and Robin Ray. The piece is a series of humorous musical skits, all quite unrelated, irreverent and amusing.

It almost seems that Lehrer wrote the script for Rice (and perhaps all college) students, as its content aligns somewhat with some common Rice themes -- sex, nudity, sado-masochism (anyone go to NOD?), drugs, politics, incomprehensible math classes, religion. I could go on and on.

This is one show that is so packed with tongue-in-cheek innuendo and is so varied that you really have to see it for yourself. The cast is packed with a lot of talent, and considering that two other musicals are currently in production on campus, it is really quite amazing how much talent creeps out from the nooks and crannies to do musicals at Rice.

I am impressed with the vocal strength of the entire musical cast. After sitting through other musicals at Rice where a few key characters sing off-key, I was relieved that I did not have to wince once ... except, of course, during the "Folk Song Army," but it is expected and even encouraged during that number.

The piano accompaniment was impeccable throughout, through the dedicated efforts of a team of pianists consisting of Brown freshmen Wyatt Ehrlander and Laurie Silverberg, and Rice's own beloved Physics Professor and Brown Associate Dr. Paul Stevenson.

In addition to his prowess at the piano, Stevenson offers physics majors, Brown students, and everyone else who sees the show a chance to have plenty of laughs at his expense. He is just plain hilarious in his renditions of "Lobachevsky" and "I Hold Your Hand in Mine," and his natural English accent adds to the hilarity of another of his numbers, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park."

Will Rice College sophomore Amir Brown's expressions of exasperation are really quite something to see. He really hams it up in, well, just about every number he is in. His strong voice and occasional southern-belle falsetto add to his charm.

Have you ever wondered what a 6'3" transvestite in a blue sequined evening gown looks like when she's carrying a whip? Todd Giese plays this awesome character role, and even though he (or is it she?) has no lines, he manages to steal the show with his womanly wiles in the two skits he is in.

Other notable cast members and co-conspirators in hilarity Dan West, Vicki Seefeldt, Danny Oppen-heimer, Britton Gregory, Kim Stange-Eissler, Stephanie Jones, Andy MacKay, Jim O'Donnell, Lauren McGarity, Melody Scott, Daniel Rubalcava, Jessica Mays, Travis Hopp and Brian Klink do not fail in their mission to entertain and amaze.

This show makes a perfect pre-Esperanza event for those of you wondering how to wow and win your date. When you go to see the show, do not forget to pick up one of the amusing and oh-so-useful party favors thrown into the audience -- funny how they all disappear after each show!

This item appeared in the Arts & Entertainment section of the November 1, 1996 issue.

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