Chaps!

Dateline: London, 1944. A visiting American cowboy band misses its live gig at the BBC, so reluctant radio staff must impersonate the dogie-wranglers, joined by the band's plucky manager Mabel (Caitlin Macy-Beckwith). The jaundiced Brits, initially loath to perform, eventually warm to it, entertaining the troops and brave citizens under Nazi attack. The thin story caulks together 21 vintage country-western songs, jauntily arranged by Malcolm Hillgartner and Chip Duford. Richard Lorig's set puts the singers out front, personable yet mute soundman Stan (Solomon Davis) in the middle, and a bass/fiddle/guitar trio behind. The audience plays the BBC studio audience, obeying an Applause light and sometimes clapping along. Aside from a few air raids and a micro-romance, not much happens except the rollicking musical numbers. Oh, and a few painfully creaky jokes. (Tex: "Have you ever punched cows?" Miles: "I would never hit an animal.") Director Karen Lund conjures a mood of shared wartime sacrifice that's all but extinct in our present wartime era of draftlessness and drones. (7:30 p.m. Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat.) MARGARET FRIEDMAN [See Margaret's full review.]

Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: July 11. Continues through Aug. 18, 2012

 
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