by Clark Groome
Tony Braithwaite and Jennifer Childs sent out several invitations to celebrities (including Meryl Streep and Chase Utley) asking that they join them on the Act II Playhouse stage in Ambler for their latest show. None accepts the invitation. All say, one way or another, that they’ve never heard of them.
Disappointed and hurt by the responses, Tony and Jen spend the next 70 minutes exploring what it means to be famous. The result is the delightful “Let’s Pretend We’re Famous,” which runs through Jan. 26.
They sing about fame, including songs from “Gypsy,” “Les Misérables” and “A Little Night Music,” among many. They do a couple of short skits about what fame can mean, and they even demonstrate Andy Warhol’s declaration that everyone will have 15 minutes of fame by bringing an audience member (a gentleman named Howard Cohen the night I was there) on stage and running him through the various stages famous people allegedly experience.
While clever, the segment with the audience member was, for me, the weakest part of the evening. I’m likely filing a minority opinion because on opening night Cohen’s time on stage seemed very well received by the rest of the audience.
The best part of the evening was watching these two talented, smart and beguiling actors interact on stage. They’ve worked together for years. Each is an extraordinary talent. Together they really do create a magic that looks so easy it’s possible to forget just how hard what they’re doing really is. To help make the evening work, Braithwaite and Childs have the able Owen Roberts at the piano.
We learn a lot about fame during our time at Act II. We also learn, or have reinforced, how lucky we are to have Tony Braithwaite and Jennifer Childs in our midst.
For tickets call 215-654-0200 or visit www.act2.org.
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