Laugh Back in Anger

Actors' Playhouse revives TomFoolery, and it's still vicious

Alack, this is entertainment. You will not find the throngs outside the Miracle Theatre in tears or engaged in rapt discussions of The Meaning of It All. The only place outside of the songs themselves where one might find a hint of what's really going on in this show is in the actors' eyes, as they perform it.

Backed by a tight, rocking little three-piece, the four players sing and dance and make light of all they do. There is never a moment when they are anything but transported with joy over their project. They have done this before.

The cast of TomFoolery: Satire with a snarl
The cast of TomFoolery: Satire with a snarl


Written by Tom Lehrer, adapted by Cameron Mackintosh and Robin Ray. Directed by David Arisco. Starring Oscar Cheda, Margot Moreland, Stephen Jordan, and Francisco "Pancho" Padura. Through September 2. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293, www.actorsplayhouse.oom.

Watch them singing these old lines, however, and you'll see the silhouette of something dangerous just behind their smooth showbiz surfaces. Beneath Moreland's big alto, Pancho's lovely tenor, Stephen Jordan's Rod Stewart-esque croon, and Oscar Cheda's inspired mugging, there is something feral thrashing around, giving the comic performances a wild-eyed intensity that would be frightening in any other context, but here harmonizes with the music so perfectly that it seems normal. It's a good thing to look for. Even if TomFoolery has been defanged by repetition, time, comfort, and context, it is apparently still impossible to sing these words without seeing some of what Lehrer saw. This is good news for all of us, in ways that have nothing to do with showbiz.

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