A REVIEW

'Five Guys Named Moe' is non-stop energy, fun

BY JANE COLLINS
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 2/11/18

Special to The Sumter ItemDo not be surprised if you come away from the Sumter Little Theatre's musical "Five Guys Named Moe" with a tired left toe - from all the toe tappin'! Although opening night the first scene got off to a slow beginning, once …

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A REVIEW

'Five Guys Named Moe' is non-stop energy, fun

Posted

Special to The Sumter Item

Do not be surprised if you come away from the Sumter Little Theatre's musical "Five Guys Named Moe" with a tired left toe - from all the toe tappin'! Although opening night the first scene got off to a slow beginning, once the five guys hit the stage and the band began, the evening was non-stop energy and fun.

In an earlier interview with The Sumter Item, Director Eric Bultman stated his biggest challenge was "assembling the right cast." If opening night's performance was any indication, he succeeded.

The band is a major part of the musical. James Lies (piano), Darren Polutta (bass), Sean Hackett (saxophone), Robert Barry (trumpet), Chip Scales (trombone) and Barry Simpson (drums) serve as the energizer for the action on stage. The energy level of the five guys is incredible. Each one manages to establish a special personality - singing and dancing with seeming ease and characterization as they attempt to help Brandon Graves (No Max) solve his female problems.

Even though at opening night, Graves' movements were a little stilted and awkward at times, as the play progressed, he gained more depth of character. Competing with the five guys is no easy task. William Paul Brown (No Moe) brings his melodious voice and natural grace of movement to his role. He is consistent vocally, emotionally and dramatically throughout the play. Hugh China (Big Moe) once again proves his excellent sense of delivery, especially as a character actor. His moves are natural and full of personality, and he sells his numbers with an attitude of honest delivery. Markelle Roberts (Little Moe) shines in his role: enthusiastic and accurate in pitch and in creating effective stage movement with a sense of devilment. In his first stage appearance of any kind, Josh Thomas (Eat Moe) does a great job, especially in his fight scene and adds to his personality as he gets more comfortable on stage in front of an audience. Don Allen Phillips (Four Eyed-Moe) comes as a surprise, at least to me. I knew he could dance but was astounded by his singing voice and control. His falsetto in "Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens" resonates with fun. As choreographer for the musical, Phillips rewards the audience with a tap section, hilarious drag movements in "Don't Get Messy, Bessy" and a strongly parodied Western number in "I'm Safe and Single."

The guys manage to turn the Calypso number into a joyous occasion involving the audience and in "Caldonia" lure the audience into the heart of the musical. Other songs like "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" and "Let the Good Times Roll" focus on the great range of musical numbers. Visually, Sylvia Pickell's costuming choices contribute to each character's personality.

A few times opening night, there were pitch problems but not often. Their final number reinforced each actor's capability and encouraged the audience to leave wanting "Mo Moe."

Sumter Little Theatre, 14 Mood Ave., presents "Five Guys Named Moe" Feb. 8-11 and 15-18. Sunday matinees begin at 3 p.m. and all other shows are at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $20 for students, military and seniors. For reservations, visit www.sumterlittletheatre.com or call (803) 775-2150.