Theater Review: Triple Espresso
A group of us were able to catch the opening night of Triple Espresso downtown. Triple Espresso is part variety show, part comedy act—add in a healthy dose of magic and some crowd participation too. When you go, plan on laughing. If you are looking for an all ages show, this should be on your list.
The setting is the Triple Espresso coffee bar and the house entertainer, Hugh Butternut, is celebrating his 25th year at the venue. As part of the festivities, Hugh invited two of his former partners, Bobby Bean and Buzz Maxwell, to the anniversary show. Throughout Hugh's anniversary show, the three relive their past career "low-lights" and lament missing their one big break.
Triple Espresso is performed by a trio of talented actors; a singer/piano player, an entertainer (lots of physical humor), and a magician.
Hugh, played by Robert Berdahl, is the unwitting star of the trio. He is a gifted singer and piano player. A friend that accompanied us to the show, who is a talented, classically trained pianist himself, said that the playing was remarkable. I would agree. Any time someone can play well and make it look effortless, you know they rock.
Bobby Bean, played by Dave Shirley, is Hugh's willing accomplice. The two appear to have been buds for what seems to be their entire career. Parts of Bobby Bean's act are simply wonderful to watch, in particular is his "shadow" act where his shadow personalities perform on a lit screen.
Buzz Maxwell, played by Patrick Albanese, is the begrudging final member of the group. He is still hung up on the fact that the trio failed miserably when they had their one big shot. Not missing an opportunity, Buzz also points out all of their minor failures as well. The magic that comes from this man's hands is truly impressive. I'm no magician, but like you, I have read about how basic tricks are performed. Knowing a little of what to look for —and sitting deep into stage left— I was unable to see any of the slight-of-hand, only pure illusion.
This show was full of audience participation and singing. No one was safe from being pulled into the performance as members of the trio's past!
Triple Espresso has taken on a life of it's own. Tripple Espresso is continually evolving as new actors are brought in to play the roles of Hugh, Bobby, and Buzz in other cities. The originators of Triple Espresso have actually started a school to help the actors pick up the unique skills needed to pull off the act.
Triple Espresso runs through June 14th at the IRT. I would certainly recommend this if you want a good laugh and clean entertainment.
Tickets provided courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre.
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