Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Bacharach and Bingo! at Mid-City Theatre

Posted By on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 10:42 PM

The cast of Bacharach and Bingo! at Mid-City Theatre.
  • The cast of Bacharach and Bingo! at Mid-City Theatre.


Onstage at Mid-City Theatre, there's a Hollywood party at songwriter Burt Bacharach's house sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s — and they're playing bingo. Why bingo? Oh, just go with it. And how well you manage to do that determines how much you might enjoy Bacharach and Bingo!, a light revue of some of Bacharach and Hal David's best-known songs interspersed with a few hands of audience participation bingo. 

That's about all there was to the show, the latest staging by New Orleans' long-time theater company of the ridiculous, Running With Scissors. Like all the company's shows, the slapdash element's the charm, but much of this show felt stuck together with three different kinds of tape: '60s "adult" music, a straight-ahead bingo game and an ongoing narration by emcee Jack Long, who projected mid-century swank but for some reason dropped in a lot of contemporary references, as if he wasn't sure the material was strong enough. 

The evening's stars were the Kentucky Sisters, a vocal duo (with some very un-Bacharach ukeleles; in this case, it worked) who stole the show with beautiful harmony versions of "One Less Bell to Answer" and "Close to You." Lisa Picone did well on "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "The Look of Love." Dorian Rush asked the questions "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" and "What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?", while Sean Patterson held up the masculine Bacharach end with "This Guy's in Love With You" and "What's New, Pussycat?".

All performed credibly, but none were helped out by taped synthesizer accompaniment that conjured an Encino karaoke room rather than a Hollywood Hills penthouse. (Bacharach used flugelhorns the way Britney Spears uses Auto-Tune; you can't evoke Herb Alpert without a strong horn section.) And while the members of Running With Scissors have made an entertaining art form of forgetting their lines (or, in this case, the lyrics) and ad-libbing their way out of trouble, watching that would have been far more fun than the performers who stopped in the middle of songs to point out their own mistakes.

But then, after every few songs, Bacharach's theme from Casino Royale would play, the house lights would rise and the audience would play a round of bingo. New Orleans audiences love them some bingo. After an hour, the group sang "What the World Needs Now" and left the stage. Bacharach and Bingo never hit the heights of a boozy 1960s party, but some of the music was swell; it was, after all, Burt Bacharach.

Bacharach and Bingo!
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 6 p.m. Sun.
Through March 22

Mid-City Theatre
3540 Toulouse Street
Tickets $20-25
504-488-1460

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