“Five Guys Named Moe” is a trifle but what a delicious trifle. The musical playing at Cohoes Music Hall through March 17 is a delicious piece of entertainment.
Essentially the show is a musical revue held together by the slenderest of stories. Poor Nomax is an almost total loser. He’s broke; he drinks too much and is afraid to make a commitment to his girlfriend of five years.
All of a sudden five colorfully dressed men appear to make him realize he is wasting his life. They make him realize how life can and should be lived. They not only sing they do some great dancing and if the lyrics of the song are forced for the situation – who cares? It’s all joyous fun.
The five guys are – of course – are named Moe. There’s the leader Big Moe, Little Moe, No Moe, Four Eyes Moe and Eat Moe. The advice they give to him is mostly offered through music.
Much of the music was written by Louis Jordan, a neglected song writer who greatly influenced what was to later be known as rock and roll.
It is tempting to say “Five Guys Named Moe,” is also a neglected musical. But it wouldn’t be true. This is a terrific production that hides the problems of a book that is so weak as to be intrusive.
At times it is chauvinistic to the point of being sexist and the first act has too much exposition that gets in the way of the entertainment.
This changes in the second act as the book nearly disappears and the performers are left to perform. The sing, dance and even interact with the audience. It’s not all perfect - the audience participation is forced and as much fun as is the music you remember none of it upon leaving the theater.
But the talent always overcomes. Under the direction of Christopher George Patterson (who is also the choreographer) the performances are wonderful.
Each man is a talented singer-dancer, but the strength of this production is how well the men work as an ensemble. This is a team that seems wrong to break up.
But break up they will as the show closes Sunday. It should be seen and enjoyed.
“Five Guys Named Moe,” at Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes. Performances 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and information, call 237-5858.
Bob Goepfert is the arts editor for the Troy Record.
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