Currently at the Act II Playhouse is the adult entertainment, Café Puttanesca – a curious mix of jokes, limericks and cabarets songs tied together by a thin plot involving good natured prostitutes of various European heritages. There is a French Madam (The Marquesa), a German Dominatrix (The Baroness), and a ducky, British crumpet (The Duchess). The Owner and his little Italian wife are happy to accommodate these guests at their establishment for we are in Amsterdam in the Red Light District where prostitution is perfectly legal.
This musical pastiche was done previously at Act II Playhouse, the Arden Theatre Company, Horizon Theatre in Atlanta and City Theatre in Pittsburgh. The music and lyrics by Michael Ogborn are in the cabaret style. There are songs as disparate as “My Mother’s Frying Pan”, “Oh, How I Miss the Kaiser”, “Rasputin and the Russian Nun” and “Ou Après la Guerre”
Mr. Ogborn’s most successful songs seem to be his ballads which are melodic and very heartfelt. The plot line which seems to consist of no more than two prostitutes burying the hatchet before one goes off to be wed is rather unsatisfying. So the bulk of the evening relies upon the jokes and hardcore limericks that for me fell flat. What makes the evening entertaining is the talented and hardworking cast.
April Woodall is remarkable as The Baroness. From her exquisite German accent to her spot on comic timing, she is worth the price of admission. Completely adorable is Jessica Riloff as The Duchess. Zachary J. Chiero keeps the whole evening rolling along as the energetic, charming Owner, and Eileen Cella as The Wife gets to show off a beautiful soprano voice.
Mention should be made of Musical Director and Accompanist Dan Matarazzo who never stops playing the entire evening and of Dirk Durosette whose set is quite stunning.
“Café Puttanesca” Music & Lyrics by Michael Ogborn
Book by Terrence J. Nolen and Michael Ogborn
Scenic Design by Dirk Durossette
Musical Director & Musician – Dan Matarazzo
Directed & Choreographed by Dann Dunn
Act II Playhouse 56 East Butler Avenue, Ambler,PA 19002
Playing now through June 16, 2019
For Tickets call 215-65400200 or go to: www.act2.org