I Love Lucy Live on Stage at the State Theatre in Minneapolis was a disappointment to many on Tuesday night. Instead of the play just being a remake of the show transferred onto a stage, the whole performance was set up like the audience was at a live taping of the show in the 1950s. The cheesy references to this time were endless and only enjoyed by the oldest of audience members. The ‘host’ character spent almost more time on the stage than the actual cast of the television show. He spent way too much time interacting with audience members and talking about the show that was about to begin. If he hadn’t done that, we would’ve been able to watch 3 mildly enjoyable ‘episodes’ of I Love Lucy instead of just the two. The episodes were also constantly interrupted by mind numbingly boring and irrelevant ‘ads’ presented by a small 6 person chorus. To make the whole experience even more realistic to a live taping of a TV show, the performance was complete with set changes, cameras, people messing up their lines and the actors talking to the audience out of character.
The set consisted of only Lucy’s living room and Ricky’s club, leaving out Lucy’s bedroom and kitchen. Even though these rooms were unnecessary to the episodes, it still would have been nice to have more than the two sets to look at. Other than the microphones going in and out a few times, there were no technical issues. Every time the host would talk to the audience, the house lights came up, which was distracting and unnecessary. The host spent around 15 minutes interacting with ‘audience members’, some of which who were cast members planted in the audience. This took away from the very little time there was an actual scene happening, was obviously staged and was extremely boring, especially to the people sitting in the balcony who could hardly see what was going on near the stage.
The actual performed episodes were by far the best part of the show. The actors who played Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel were good as their characters but didn’t blow the audience away with their accuracy. Thea Brooks (Lucy) was trying to imitate Lucy’s voice, but there was something unidentifiably wrong about it that made her sound well…not like Lucy. During a post-show Q and A session with the cast, we learned that Brooks had actually done very little to study the part of Lucy because she felt as though ‘their characters were a lot alike’. Even though she was given the entire I Love Lucy series for free, she didn’t watch every episode and didn’t seem very determined too. Euriamis Losada, on the other hand, was very grateful for the role and did his best to imitate Rickey exactly, memorizing his every move by watching the show over and over.
I Love Lucy Live on Stage was a disappointment to Lucy fans and people who had never seen the show alike. Cheesy jokes, bare minimum sets and inaccurate performances were just a few of the things that made this show unimpressive.