From left to right: Franklin Grace, LaRon Lee Hudson, Troy Anthony Harris, Japheal Bondurant and Terrence Brian Brown.
Last night I attended CATCO’s bubbly toast to big band song and love gone tricky. “Five Guys Named Moe” is a carefree, playful wink-and-nudge musical starring the music of early 20th-century musician Louis Jordan. Here are three lasting thoughts from the evening.
1) What fun! “Five Guys Named Moe,” technically, has a plot. Nomax (Kevin Ferguson) is sad that his girlfriend left him. He’s also drunk, per usual. Five dudes named, you guessed it, Moe (No Moe, Terrence Brian Brown; Little Moe, Franklin Grace; Eat Moe, Japheal Bondurant; Big Moe, Troy Anthony Harris; and Four Eyed Moe, LaRon Lee Hudson) show up to give him a swift, swinging kick in the heiney. It’s really just an excuse for song and dance, but that’s OK. The delicious live band behind the set’s curtain, directed by Matt Clemens, is imperative, keeping the show moving and maintaining the excitement.
2) Those boys can sing. While Liz Wheeler’s choreography was a thin layer of icing, the double-layer cake was the voices on those Moes! The medley at the end of the show is a goosebumps inducing example of vocal harmony, but there are plenty of other wow moments--like Hudson’s deep “Azure Te,” Harris’ hopping “Caledonia” and, my favorite performance of the night, Bondurant’s moving “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.” The energy the actors bring to each song made the performance. I wanted to go dance with them (and some audience members did during the end of Act I’s “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie).
3) Bring your dancing shoes. This show involves audience interaction. Don’t let that scare you, no one is really singled out, but be prepared for that and get into it. “Five Guys Named Moe,” like most things, is infinitely more entertaining if you allow yourself to enjoy the pure fun of it, plot be damned.
Studio Two Riffe Center
Through May 26
77 S. High St., Downtown