“Nice Work if You Can Get It” satisfies with mixture of slapstick, satire


Bethany Lamastus, Staff Writer

“Nice Work If You Can Get It” transports the audience to prohibitionist New York City through a comedic, classy and timeless musical. The show continues at the Musical Hall in Fair Park until Sept. 14.

The stage was decorated with large curtains, huge sets and intricate props and furniture pieces. The crew outdid themselves with their set changes that seemed effortless and well thought out. The opening number, however, did not give me a good first impression. “Sweet and Lowdown” was a jazzy, upbeat song about the speakeasy life during prohibition. Although it didn’t grab my attention, it set the tone for the musical as a whole through the carefree spirit the characters had.

Jimmy Winter, played by Alex Enterline, is celebrating his engagement to his fourth wife, whom he’s only marrying to inherit her wealthy mother’s business. He meets bootlegger Billie Bendix, played by Mariah MacFarlane, outside the speakeasy and is immediately attracted to how different she is. The title song “Nice Work if You Can Get It” is a classy, fun song that makes you want to love Jimmy’s enthusiasm towards life, even though he doesn’t have to work to make a living.

The cast gives very memorable performances, from the beautiful ballad sung by MacFarlane, “Someone to Watch Over Me,” to “Delishious,” sung by Eileen Evergreen, the vain, modern dance interpreter who’s engaged to Jimmy. Along with the musical numbers, the characters were huge and over the top, a typical guideline of a musical theatre performance. The interaction between Cookie McGee and Duchess Estonia Dulworth acts as the comic relief of the show. One of the most memorable moments occurs when Cookie pours alcohol into the Duchess’s drink without her knowing. Her state of mind at the time causes her to let out her deepest feelings in the song “Looking for a Boy,” which ends with her swinging on the gold chandelier hanging in the dining room she’s in.

Along with the main characters like Jimmy, Billie, Eileen and Cookie, the show is filled with a talented supporting cast that adds to the antics of the show. A bootlegger named Duke Mahoney is pursued by a scandalous show girl named Jeannie Muldoon when Cookie lies and says that Duke is actually the Duke of England and heir to the throne. The show is constantly taking unexpected twists and turns like this one. The script is very well written – you’re never able to guess what is going to happen next until it actually happens.

Overall, I loved this show a lot more than I thought I would. It’s a great mix of slapstick comedy and political satire that everyone from high school students to adults can enjoy.