Smokey Joe’s Café
(or” How to Shimmy til the Sun Comes Up”)
A Review by Jason Pendergast
The Ogunquit Playhouse hits the right notes in their 86th Season Premiere, the Rock and Roll, Rhythm N Blues Powerhouse (or is that Power Café?) theatrical event known as Smokey Joe’s Café. Taking some of the most famous, most uplifting, most alluring songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s, this showcase offers a time capsule of treasures from some the most famous artists of this time. Free from the usual plotted musical themes that the Playhouse is well known for, this trip instead takes the hits of the mighty musical duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and give the audience a new way to look at their old time favorities. The show embodies the ultimate in sexy, steamy dance numbers like “Teach Me to Shimmy” and “Spanish Harlem”, as well as comic antics such as “Along Came Jones”, “Yakety Yak” and “Dance with Me”. Almost every number seemed to give the audience a euphoric buzz, causing us to crave even more from this amazing cast.
And boy, were they up to the challenge! Everything from chair stunts, to dueling pianos, to a band whose platform moves out on stage for special acts were included in the festivities. The show captures just the right mixture of nostalgia, steaminess, campy humor, creative interpretation, high octane fun and sentimentality. It’s like you are a part of this slice of history, as opposed to just watching it. This one act show flew by, leaving this review craving more- (Smokey Joe’s 2, anyone?).
“Smokey Joe’s Cafe” is running now through June 9th. For tickets and show times, call 207-646-5511 or visit their website at Ogunquitplayhouse.org.