I'll Say She Is

Theater, Off-Off Broadway
3 out of 5 stars
I'll Say She Is
Photograph: Don Spiro I'll Say She Is

Before Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera, there was I’ll Say She Is, the 1924 Broadway debut of the Marx Brothers. The show faded into obscurity after launching the boys to fame, with parts of its script and score forever lost. Adapted by Noah Diamond based on what did survive, and supplemented with other Marx Brothers material, it is presented at the Fringe (with shoestring lavishness) for the first time since its debut. The script is typical of its era, bridging the gap between vaudeville and musical theater, with the duo's beloved shtick between pleasant but forgettable tunes. Diamond himself dons Groucho’s mustache in an uncanny and hilarious performance, and Seth Shelden brings silent anarchy as Harpo. However, much of the ensemble seems unsure or under-rehearsed; missed cues and out-of-time steps abound. Director Trav S.D.’s staging is often inert, and the transitions between scenes are long and inefficient. The elements come together in a very funny sketch featuring Groucho as Napoleon, but the material generally doesn't overcome the weak production. This curio is for devout Marxists only.—Austin Ruffer

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Event phone: 866-468-7619
Event website: http://fringenyc.org
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