Lunchbox Theatre presents Come Fly With Me through Feb. 14. Tickets: Call 403-265-4292.
***1/2 out of five
Like the song says: “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” That’s the lesson learned by Mikey from Ol’ Blue Eyes himself in Andrew Scanlon’s slight but likable musical tribute to Frank Sinatra, which opened Tuesday at Lunchbox Theatre. The premise of Come Fly With Me is a backstage encounter between a 1950s poindexter of a guy (played by Mark Allan, who also plays piano in the show) and the fab Frankie (portrayed by Cameron MacDuffee). It seems our Mikey is so desperate to let the girl who lives “across the street and four houses down” know of his love for her (before heading back to school) that he slips into Sinatra’s dressing room one rainy evening in the hope of meeting the crooner after a concert, and thereby scoring valuable points in the courtship department.
In their respective roles, MacDuffee and Allan make a good musical team — sufficient at least to lift this production, directed by Glenda Stirling, well above being seen as simply an excuse to string a bunch of oldies together.
Wisely, MacDuffee — who would bear a striking resemblance to Sinatra if he weren’t quite so tall — doesn’t go too much beyond moderate world weariness, in both gesture and tough-guy talk (a la “Noo Joisey” accent), in the role, instead relying mostly on the plausible rendering of standards like New York, New York, Mack the Knife, All of Me, and of course, the title tune. Allan does well, too — first, as an eager Richard Dreyfuss-style nerd, and later as an earnest, would-be Lothario whose new-found confidence begins with getting the “Doo-wahs” right in It Don’t Mean a Thing (under Frank’s tutelage) and only gains momentum through The Song Is You.
As for the other great songs chosen for Come Fly With Me — they speak for themselves.