A review by Suzanne Birrell
An excited crowd of taxpayers gathered at the Hudson Theater for Stan Rich's new musical, Loophole$ A pain in the I.R.S., a musical parody based on Mr. Rich's actual dealing with the I.R.S. It's a happily ever after story with an I Love Lucy comic pace that parodies musicals as well as the I.R.S. It's a story of a guy who lost everything but won the battle and girl. Looking for laughs?
Loopholes$ A Pain in the I.R.S. is a pleaser.
Though the jokes started from the downbeat, the audience as a whole was slow to catch up. LOL was the norm. Anything and everything that could be set up as a joke was. Consider "therapist" pronounced "the rapist." The lyrics were wonderfully witty and set to melodies that quoted or hinted at old familiar tunes such as Gilbert and Sullivan's "When I was a Lad"; "Daisy, Daisy"; "If I only had a brain"; "Puttin' on the Ritz"; and more.
Loophole$ is a true ensemble piece with many of the actors playing multiple roles. The main character Izzy Rich is played with great sincerity and aplomb by Bruce Nozick who managed to keep a straight face while hysterical shenanigans were going on all round. Caryn Richman played Therapist Dr. Marsha Mellow who really likes Izzy, and seemed so genuinely surprised that everybody overheard her musical soliloquies. Perry Lambert laughed and danced and sang with gusto as Harry Grim, Izzy's accountant. Ryan Brady had several memorable spotlights. As Sam Flushing, a plumber with tax problems, he sang with a plunger and revealed the cracks. Back again as Pete Rose he gave us first hand (not secondhand) version of Gambling Rose who got in trouble with the I.R.S. for failing to report monies he received for signing autographs and gambling winnings. Julie Cardia was pure comedy as Brenda-secretary to Mr. Rich and who came back as a little pig. Brad Griffith played the wolf with verve when he wasn't manifesting all the rumors about I.R.S. agents. He came back in as Willie Nelson and sang "On my case again" with all Willi-isms accounted for. Nora King was cute as a button with her little pig nose and then again as the judge. Taji Coleman played a stern I.R.S. agent Sheila Peel and then came back very pregnant as Mrs. Lamaz to seductfully sing about how her sex life was being ruined by tax agents in his (her husband's ) head.
The cast went all out for their characters in their performance. A favorite moment for the audience was when the men sang "Sittin' in the Schvitz" as they emerged from a steam bath with a towel and did a towel dance revealing - well almost.
Many of the laughs came from the character's observation that they were in a musical. The therapist observed that Izzy Rich had on the same shirt for every meeting thru the years. Izzy Rich responded to friendly connection from the character Lois with, "I don't know you, you haven't sung an introductory song."
The show was a tad long without an intermission though the laughter and jokes kept us energized. The comic timing was spot on and every joke that could be made was milked. The ending was a little week and sudden. Most of the scenes could stand alone but there is a story which weaves thru to the happily ever after ending.
Director Kiff Scholl did marvelous job of bringing more than the actors thought they were capable of doing in public onto the stage. Charles G. Sleichter provided a set design that was functional and added to the comedy. Lindsay Martin's choreography added to the characters. It was obvious that the entire crew and ensemble had a great time with this production.
Loophole$ A pain in the I.R.S is a lighthearted romp through some serious issues, i highly recommend it for your health.
Loopholes$ A Pain in the I.R.S runs
thru May 17
Friday and Saturday at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm and 7pm
No 7pm show April 19th
$30 General Admission TICKETS
Hudson Mainstage Theatre
6539 Santa Monica Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90038