Theater review: ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ by Fake Radio at the Lost Theater
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Fake Radio, Los Angeles’ “premiere old-time radio comedy troupe,” launches its new season of radio reenactments with “Meet Me in St. Louis,” a truncated radio adaptation of the 1944 film that first aired on the Lux Radio Theater in late 1946.
“St. Louis,” co-produced and directed by David Koff, who also performs, plays in repertory with “The Philadelphia Story” and “The Lone Ranger,” and features a rotating cast of guest stars — as do all the shows. Last weekend, the headliner was Phil Proctor from the old Firesign Theatre comedy group.
Slickly professional in every particular, this production features an adept cast of voice performers that clusters around a bank of fixed microphones, while sound designer Dan Foegelle provides the requisite creaks, beeps and thuds so crucial to the fun.
A singing trio opens the bill, followed by a quickie dramatization from “The Adventures of Superman,” featuring the formidably funny Dave Cox as the Man of Steel. Tongue-in-cheek commercial breaks for sponsor Lux Soap punctuate the action.
Proctor and his wife, Melinda Peterson, play the married patriarch and matriarch of the piece — a sweet touch in a notably sweet show. As Esther Smith, arguably Judy Garland’s most memorable screen performance, dulcet-voiced Julie Millet courageously follows in Garland’s footsteps in a surprisingly pleasing turn. Also surprising, Proctor proves a stand-out singer in his single musical number.
However, during the opening weekend, this almost reverentially exact re-creation seemed to be a bit lacking in sheer goofiness. A shorter running time and a few more acid quips would help make this enjoyable evening truly memorable.
— F. Kathleen Foley
“Meet Me in St. Louis,” Fake Radio at the Lost Studio, 130 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Saturdays. Ends Oct. 24. $20. (877) 460-9774. www.fakeradio.net. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.