Let’s Review! Great cast and songs make good ‘Dog and Pony’ show at The Old Globe
By Diana SaengerRick Elice (“The Addams Family,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” and with Marshall Brickman co-writer of “Jersey Boys”) said his idea for the musical “Dog and Pony” flew in the window. That summation feels appropriate as the characters in the musical comedy now playing at The Old Globe are in an energetic leap from start to finish.
For 13 years, Andy (Jon Patrick Walker) and Mags (Nicole Parker) have been writing partners — especially on movie scripts. It’s a strange arrangement since Andy is married to Jane (Heidi Blickenstaff), yet he and Mags travel around the country often spending more than a day in a hotel room as they plot their next projects.
Their work atmosphere often includes remaining in their bathrobes throwing out ideas as fast as a popcorn machine.
When one does not like the other’s, they’re quiet for a moment, but when one hits on the perfect solution, they jump into each other’s arms, patting each other’s backs.
Andy is always telling Mags how wonderful she is and how vital she is to his career. Likewise with Mags, but she’s more touchy feely, and she often tells Andy that she loves him. Of course, it’s meant to mean she loves him as a partner, not a paramour. But is that true?
Mags is a frequent guest to Andy’s home, where his wife Jane seems to understand their relationship and gets along with Mags. It’s Andy’s amusing mother — well acted by Beth Leavel — who is outraged by the amount of time Mags spends with Andy, and outright tells her not to come to his home.
Jane is seen as a camouflaged gun enthusiast and one wonders if she’s planning to use one of those guns on Mags? In one outrageous scene, Jane becomes Bonnie, a malapropos-prone girlfriend definitely out of the objective in the situation, but well-played by Blickenstaff and so funny, especially when belting out “Jane Takes Aim” and “Bonnie Doesn’t Get It.”
Michael Patrick Walker’s songs fit into every scenario. Although not really a warm-at-heart guy, Jon Walker (not related to Michael) can belt out a song, and his charisma at those times is often felt as his appeal for Mags.
However, each time Mags seems as if she’s ready to take the next step in their relationship, he’s not on board. One scene where Mags is fed up with him has her madly driving a miniature car around the stage singing “What the Hell Am I Doing?”
Also figuring into the plot is actor Eric William Morris, who portrays three different characters, including a film festival host badgering Mags and Andy with personal questions.
All the actors are wonderful, and director Roger Rees has done an excellent job creating a funny play that questions how much our professional relationships can really mean to us.
IF YOU GO:“Dog and Pony” runs matinees, evenings through June 29 at The Old Globe Theatre’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park, San Diego. Tickets from $35 at (619) 234-5623. TheOldGlobe.org