Reviewed by George Fontana
What can be said about Ms. Vicki Roush that hasn’t been said about Paris, Picasso, or a New Orleans praline parfait? “Magnificent” immediately comes to mind. Quickly followed by “Superlative” and “Inimitable.” Roush is that good as the lead in “Bingo — The Winning Musical” running at the Red Barn Theatre through Saturday, Jan. 18.
Roush plays Vern, an acerbic, single-minded bingo queen who plays to win, and takes no prisoners. She’s also queen bee to bingo regulars Patsy (Laurie Breakwell) and Honey (Camille Russo Toler). Roush is in great voice as she belts out “Girl’s Night Out” and “Swell.” She’s aided and abetted by talented cohorts.
Pasty surrounds herself with trolls, dice and other talismans to no avail. She’s dependent upon her lucky charms; dysfunctional without them. Breakwell is superb as the neurotic, tightly wound Patsy. And she’s hell on wheels with an ink dauber! Camille Russo Toler makes her long overdue return to the stage as the aptly named Honey, a sweet but not-too-bright serial slut who finds romance at the bingo hall … often. Russo’s Honey is spot on. As Vern observes: “I find your stupidity endearing.”
Jodyrae Geckler-Campbell, who has her best moments from within a picture frame, is in good voice as the unjustly maligned Bernice. Susannah Wells, a welcome addition to the Key West stage, portrays Alison, Bernice’s well-intentioned daughter. Annie Miners and Bob Bowersox imbue their performances with brio; Miners as Minnie the no-nonsense bingo hall manager, and Bowersox in duel roles as hippy Frank and the earnest Sam.
The thin plot — a dark and stormy night punctuated by revealing flashbacks — provides just enough structure upon which to hang witty lines and punchy songs accompanied by Penny Leto’s inspired choreography and Charles Lindberg’s lively piano chops. Under Joy Hawkins’ knowing direction, the very talented cast members of “Bingo — The Winning Musical” sing wonderfully well, and give joyful performances. It’s an ideal entertainment for the holiday season.
To reach the Red Barn Theatre Ticket Office, call 305-296-9911.