Double Trouble's family circus | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Double Trouble's family circus

Written by two brothers, starring two brothers, and regarding two brothers, the 2002 musical is a fun riff on 40s Hollywood.


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This Porchlight Music Theatre production of a 2002 "tour de farce" stars a pair of brothers—Adrian and Alexander Aguilar—whose mother happened to be sitting next to me on opening night. Boy, was she ever proud. It was sweet the way she couldn't resist applauding, soundlessly, her hands hidden in her lap, when her sons started tap dancing. Appropriate, too, since Double Trouble plays like a family theatrical with unusually strong production values. Written by the Walton brothers, Bob and Jim, it follows the songwriting Martin brothers, Bobby and Jimmy, as they try not to louse up their big chance to break into the Hollywood film industry circa 1941. The Aguilars sing and dance and go through a number of quick costume changes as they play not only the Martins but all the people who either stand in their way or boost them to success. Among the dramatis personae: a deaf sound engineer, a hyperactive agent, a gruff studio head, a nerdy intern, a secretary with a yen for cold sesame noodles, and a steamy, if burly, femme fatale. The sexual politics are a tad retrograde, the music is undistinguished pastiche, and the jokes are studiously cornball (the sound engineer and his wife divorced after a 75-year marriage because they were waiting for the kids to die), yet the Aguilars keep things fun. They've got great presence, an endearing dynamic, good chops, and apparently no shame at all. Adrian makes a small masterpiece of the agent, though Alexander does a better woman. Mom, the lessons paid off.

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