As if Charley’s Aunt were not flighty enough for an early-20th-century chestnut featuring cross-dressing — nor Frank Loesser’s 1948 musical version, Where’s Charley? — impresarios William A. Reilly and Gary Lamb have taken the story another step into silliness. Long on dreams and ideas but short on budget, these producers have taken the public domain original, set it in a 1912 college and paired it with a set of 21 songs also from the public domain, including “Daisy, Daisy,” “Aba Daba Honeymoon” and the title tune. The result, though technically shaggy, is delightful. Every song is a sentimental chunk of Americana and musical director Reilly plays them with bouncy perfection. The energetic cast dances through what’s left of the original dialogue and happily croons through the music. Casey Zeman is particularly charming as Babbs, who is tricked by his two buddies into pretending to be a very rich aunt from Brazil (“where the nuts come from”) to help them propose to their gals — whom they cannot see unchaperoned. Reilly and Lamb direct the whole show “louder and faster!” and this cast never lets them down.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: May 17. Continues through Aug. 3, 2008

LA Weekly