Ever been to a party where there’s a running joke but you arrived too late to hear the original joke? You feel a bit left out at first, but a couple of drinks later, the joke’s sounding pretty funny.
The Eddie Lounge Reunion Tour felt like that- it’s a re-imagined remount of a show that first played at the Fringe nearly ten years ago. It’s garnered quite a following, too, to judge from the overcapacity house the other night. Most of the patrons seemed to be repeat customers, and if they laughed ever-so-slightly before a line was finished, well, at least the laughs were genuine, and the delight of the audience was palpable.
The setting of the show is The Lounge, a fictional latenight place, and its denizens are all named after drinks- I’d give you some of their names but that would spoil the fun, as well as give away most of the well worn jokes you’ll hear. There’s even a plot, though it’s thinner than dental floss and about as disposable. No matter- if you come here looking for Grand Drama, you’ve stepped into the wrong joint anyway, babes.
Suffice to say that the real reason to attend is the music. Though one might expect 50s standards, given the title, there isn’t much actual lounge music in the show- it’s mostly 70s-90s pop tunes, sung with nicely ironic intent and mixed in with some later Prince and Katy Perry hits. The five piece live band is a good notch above wedding gig quality and plays well, with members adding to the jokes on occasion.
Ed Spitzberg as Eddie Lounge is somewhat hammy with his acting chops, but it’s hard not to find this popeyed, perpetually perspiring host endearing. Jeremy Zucker as his arch rival Rico Buble manages to make his one dimensional Snidely Whiplash character both wink-wink menacing and kinda sexy at the same time. Plus he’s about nine feet tall next to Spitzberg’s normal guy height; frankly, just looking at them sing together is funny.
The Eddie Lounge Reunion Tour: The Loung Awakens
Created by Ed Spitzburg
Directed and Choreographed by Walter Ware III
Details and tickets
Two performers were a standout: Gina Tonic, played by Melissa Romain, has 14K pipes and stage attitude to match: by far the best performer both musically and in the acting department, though she didn’t have much to work with given the limp script. (note to the director and producers: you think the Rat Pack didn’t have writers and comedians on the payroll? They did. You need some too.)
Last but not least, Alex Romain is a double whammy performer, first as laid back keyboard player and as a stand-alone singer. The two duets sung by the Romains (married in real life) were the highlights of the show: it’s a joy to watch such good performers having such a good time.
Though the music is well done, the production values are, I am sorry to say, subpar. The show would really benefit from some visuals- a few blue gels and a slideshow at the beginning doesn’t quite cut it. (A caveat here: the night this reviewer saw the show, some technical difficulties prevented a video finale from happening- this was sent later and viewed. It’s quite good, and I wish more use had been made of video background throughout the show.)
Better costumes, too, would help- Eddie’s Lounge attire was an only-slightly-Beadazzed vintage sports coat paired with embroidered house slippers, the band was attired in blah grey bowling shirts, and Eddie’s evil rival Rico, though nattily dressed in black dinner jacket and tux pants, didn’t quite match the tacky premise of the show. Matter of fact, he was so, well, ‘normal’, he looked as if he might be a professional lounge singer, rather than the caricature of one he is supposed to portray. Gina Tonic had the misfortune to wear a very poorly fitted sequined gunny sack, though her neon pink pumps were hip and spot-on Lounge worthy (my bet is that these came from the singer’s own closet). Lots of over-the-top eye candy would have been appropriate here, and it’s a pity costumer Phil da Costa didn’t rise to the occasion.
Overall, it’s a good show, breezy and cheesy, fun and a silly romp. The patter falls flat on occasion- well, it ain’t Shakespeare- or even, let’s be honest, Dino, Sammy and/or Frank- but you’ll have a good time once you’ve caught up on the joke with the rest of the crowd.