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Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013

Next Act Puts Groucho’s Life ‘In Revue’

Marx and Moses Meet Again

Next Act Groucho: A Life in Revue
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In Next Act Theatre’s Groucho: A Life in Revue, Milwaukee’s resident Marx for many years, Norman Moses, returns in yet another appearance in the role. The biographical sampling of the legendary comic’s work also features David Cecsarini as Chico and Chris Klopatek as Harpo.

Moses has certainly had plenty of practice behind the greasepaint mustache over the years—and it shows. In a program of greatest hits from vaudeville to Hollywood to “You Bet Your Life, Moses’ only significant flaw seems to be that he doesn’t look exactly like Groucho. Everything else is perfectly in place, even when the character reaches advanced age at the end of the tribute.

Cecsarini is a charming Chico both in and out of his stage persona. He appears as he was seen on screen and as he was in casual moments with Groucho. It’s a fun, studied characterization that provides depth to the world beyond the public’s perception of the Marx Brothers.

True to the screen persona of Harpo, Klopatek keeps silent. In keeping with the overall form of the production, Klopatek nails the style, form and physicality of the character he’s playing with a high degree of fidelity. No actual harp is present, but Alexandra Bonesho plays a dazzlingly gorgeous harp angel in a clever dream sequence that is as graceful as it is funny. Bonesho also makes quite an impression as the unattainable woman in Groucho’s life over the decades. She brings an irresistible versatility to the edges of the production.

Groucho: A Life in Revue runs through Dec. 8, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For tickets, call 414-278-0765 or visit nextact.org.

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