Reviewed by Esther Tolkoff
Presented by The Pastime Group at the Henry Street Settlement Recital Hall, 466 Grand St., NYC, Aug. 16-26.
"Cute" is the word that comes to mind in describing "To Sirloin with Love: A Meat Opera." The many clever lines get the laughs sought. You don't remember much afterwards, but you are pleasantly entertained at the moment.
The music and lyrics of this very light opera were written by several of the Philadelphia-based company's members—Parris Bradley, Frank McLaughlin (in real life, a "third generation butcher"), John Stovicek, and Patrick Edward White. Valerie Joyce is the director.
Frankie (McLaughlin) is a butcher working with his father (Peter M. Donohue) in the family store, "The Divine Bovine." The shop is presented in a clever, children's television program-type set, designed by scenic consultant Margaret H. McCarty.
Frankie longs to be a rock star. He sings his dreams to his adoring employees, The Meat Groupies (Katie Connor, Lisa DeLorenzo, and Lisa DiFulgentis), though the possible disadvantages of the glamorous life do cross his mind. ("I hope I don't have to sleep with Mick Jagger," he frets.)
Frankie loves Eve (Barby Hobyak), a militant vegetarian. But his father is convinced that meat inspector Sal (White), evilly lurking, is drawn by Eve's picketing. Frankie's romance must end, Dad declares.
The laughs are, well, clear-cut. A highlight is Sal's number "I Am A Government Soldier." It is delightful to see live musicians—no canned disco here—three guitarists, a cellist, and a drummer. Like the cast, they seem to be having a grand old time.
McLaughlin is engaging as Frankie. Hobaryk also has great charm, though she needs to project more when she sings. (Speaking, she can be heard just fine). Every one else enthusiastically booms their "arias." The Met it ain't, but the show is fun.