Half-Baked Silliness: LUMBERJACKS IN LOVE

Photo Credit: Carla Donaghey.

MUSIC BY: James Kaplan
STORY BY: Fred Alley & James Kaplan

presented by Stoneham Theatre
Stoneham, MA
September 13th – 30th, 2012
Stoneham Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Stoneham) There is nowhere to hide with a new musical. Unlike a fresh drama, where an audience can be tricked into going along if there’s enough shouting, as soon as an actor opens her mouth to start singing, the audience can tell whether the song enhances or detracts from the plot, usually with disastrous results.

Knowing this makes the feat performed by the Stoneham Theatre production of the musical Lumberjacks in Love all the more impressive. As a piece of theater, it is clearly underdone, with some songs that hit home and others that go nowhere. Also, the characters are purposely drawn to be two-dimensional stereotypes. Yet the spirit of the play, its outright silliness, wins over the audience, and I found
myself laughing more often than scratching my head.

The plot-line seems drawn straight from a cartoon: A rapscallion bunkhouse full of 19th century lumberjacks must grapple with the onslaught of a female presence and the resulting feelings of love that arise. Authors James Kaplan and Fred Alley are wise to realize the Bugs Bunny quality of the plot and pepper the script with self- referential gags that give the audience permission to laugh like we’re watching
Saturday morning shows after eating two bowls of Choco-sugar bombs.

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