By Monica McGivern
By Travis Cohen
By Hannah Sentenac
By Daniel Reskin
By Hans Morgenstern
By George Martinez
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Ciara LaVelle
Yet even with the script's wild cards, the cast is still playing against the house, in this case the Studio Theatre. Too bad. It's hard to feel like a nightclub patron in a theater seat, and the audience participation in tangos and conga lines misses the mark; the venue lacks the feel of a real cabaret theater. Instead, the Studio Theater creates a fourth wall -- between actors and audience -- that I doubt even Joe Louis could have punched through. Though the band continued to play hot swing, my connection to the action got colder than a producer's heart.
But in my game, patience pays off. And as torch singer Rose, Adjan packs plenty of heat, nailing both the jokes and the notes. Shifting between Gracie Allen amnesiac and Rosalind Russell dynamo, she's better than a double feature. And risking a fall for grand larceny, Amadeo as Kurland nearly steals the show. The only cast member to portray multiple roles, he plays not only the inspector but also harried waiters, Hindu bagmen, and an airline pilot who has the misfortune to end up at Freddy's. His Kurland makes comedy a matter of physical evidence, thanks to his rubbery kisser and an ability to twirl his limbs at impossible angles. Competent with the dialogue but soaring on their instruments, the rest of the cast drives the musical numbers home.
Suggesting that the production budget is probably even tighter than the band, Carl Waisanen's set, Mimsey Schemrick's costumes, and London's lighting design make the B-movie atmosphere look cheaper than ever -- though Nathan Rausch's crisp sound design lets both dialogue and music come through.
And that's not all that came across: The Actors' Project may not yet run like a thoroughbred, but with Song of Singapore, the company has delivered the goods on its first time out of the gate. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Song of Singapore. Music and lyrics by Erik Frandsen, Robert Hipkens, Michael Garin, and Paula Lockheart; book by Alan Krantz and the composers/lyricists; directed by Amy London; with Irene Adjan, Antonio Amadeo, Gia Bradley-Cheda, Tom Dillickrath, David Nagy, Joe Carrion, Al Nigro, and Barry Tarallo. Through September 7. For more information call 954-977-4673; or see "Calendar Listings.