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Golf: The Musical

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But really, why hasn't anyone produced a musical about golf until now? Why did we have to wait, decade after decade, watching paltry revues about Weimar nightclubs and Annie Oakley and aunties Mame? Why, when there are so many juicy puns about balls, shafts and foursomes?

If you're Michael Roberts, creator of Golf: The Musical, you've got a ready answer: Nothing rhymes with "golf."

Once again, South Park Theatre surprises its patrons, for Golf is no standard community-theater fare. Golf is a recent, well-reviewed Off-Broadway creation, following in the giddy footsteps of Nunsense and Greater Tuna. Golf is flirtatious and playful and punchy -- Roberts will rib anybody for a laugh. There are no characters, per se, nor story: Each song is its own sketch, a kind of harmless editorial about the world's dullest sport.

What's striking about Golf is its up-to-the-minute humor: There are jokes about George Bush's intelligence, Larry Craig's restroom dalliances and Tiger Woods' sexy buttocks. Most startling of all, Golf features a song, right in the middle, called "Let's Bring Golf to the Gulf," a little ditty about introducing nine-irons to a newly conquered Iraq (two actors prance around in dishdashas -- notably not the fashion in Iraq, but whatever).

Golf is a daring move for South Park -- a comedy revue both edgy and current -- that more conservative community theaters might feel too shy to entertain. And Golf's four actors toil hard for our amusement, singing and dancing their hearts out.

Yet none of them are really "singers," in the sense that one would be eager to hear them sing. They struggle for notes, they fall flat, their voices refuse to harmonize. They're not really dancers, either -- they swivel and strut amorphously, looking to each other for help. What this little troupe needs is confidence and precision -- and maybe a couple more rehearsals. Still, Bree Raymond is charming as the token woman, and Bill Crean carries the funniest tune of all, "The Beautiful Time," whose creepy twist is worth the price of admission.

The best way to view Golf is to imagine that you know the actors -- that they are friends and business partners, members of the same golf club as you. Imagine that this is a benefit for leukemia or something, and that your friends are putting on a show for $10,000 a plate: This is a good time for a good cause. Actually, that last part you don't have to imagine. South Park Theatre, quaint and surprising, is cause enough.

 

Golf: The Musical continues throgh Sun., June 8. South Park Theatre, South Park. 412-831-8552 or www.southparktheatre.com

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