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Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008

Caffeinated Comedy

Theater Review

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   Tears of laughter streamed down my cheeks at the opening of Triple Espresso in Vogel Hall, exactly as happened when the show made its first visit to Milwaukee. Back then I employed such terms as "zany," "loony," "nutty" and "giddy." This time the Espresso was brewed all the richer by the addition of Marquette grad Brian Kelly as genial host Bobby Bean. He is united in this "highly caffeinated comedy" with Paul Somers tickling the ivories and Patrick Albanese proving once again, through his amazing prestidigitation, that the serving hand is quicker than the eye.

  Simple story: Three guys-would-be star entertainers-decide to band together in a new act intended to highlight their particular specialties. On their road to obscurity, egos (and some simply lousy luck) get in the way. After several all-out attempts end in futility, culminating in a most embarrassing disaster on Mike Douglas' national TV show, the trio splits.

  On this occasion, pianist Hugh Butternut (Somers) makes an attempt to bring the guys-particularly the still teed-off, grousing Buzz Maxwell (Albanese)-back for an evening of sweet nostalgia as they review the years of their "joint career"-much to the delight of audiences that relish the schadenfreude.

  Through Nov. 16 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.