REVIEW: Million Dollar Quartet

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, full of crowd-pleasing music opened at the Playhouse last Thursday.  It will run until Sunday, February 18th.

Fans of the music will likely get a kick from seeing these four stars portrayed on the Marx Theatre stage. Musically they are all top-notch performers.  But you’ll see a sneering Carl Perkins, a flavorless Elvis Pressley, a way over the top version of Jerry Lee Lewis, with a vocally impressive Johnny Cash all gathered together at Sun Records for an afternoon recording session by the owner of the company.  He, the bass player, and Fluke, the drummer, were entertaining. (Oh, and Elvis’s girlfriend of the moment is there, too, and she absolutely murders “Fever” in a good way.)

I found the audio a muddy mess and the costumes and wigs and makeup distracting.  The tone of the show wavered from poorly written historical melodrama to musical circus (the actor playing Lewis could have been wearing clown shoes and carrying a Harpo Marx horn and I wouldn’t have found his portrayal any more ridiculous). The staging and tone of the show felt disjointed and chaotic.  I expected better.  I think these legends deserve better.

You probably think I’m being a bit harsh.  Maybe I am.  It’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever seen.  And in fairness – and as a counselor, I’m overly fond of introspection – I was very tired.  I was uncomfortable in my seat, with my hip digging into the arm rest in an attempt to give the person next to me as much space as possible.  My plus one cancelled – twice – and I had to attend alone.  I have some work-stress and a lot of things on my mind.  So I know that I took things into the theatre I shouldn’t have.  But I didn’t leave with the buoyant jubilation I expected, either.

You are likely to have a very different experience than I.  I know I’m in the minority on this one.  And I’m certain that the show will sell well, which is great.  I want every theatre in town to be sold out every night.  So, go see for yourself.  You’ll tap your toes no matter what.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET runs through February 18th at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  Click here for more information.