The new musical "Bingo" is a satirical look at the game of Bingo. "Bingo" (created by Hugh J. Ward in the 1920s) has flourished over the years in small towns and cities and is quite popular with church groups, local clubs and the like.
The Bingo hall is a place where people come to socialize, kibitz, or simply to play. Most serious players have their own individual pre-game rituals, and heaven help anyone who gets in their way.
The story: Such a Bingo-obsessive person is Vern (Liz McCartney) of Hamerin County, U.S.A. (somewhere in the south). One dark and stormy night, a massive hurricane is about to hit the area, and people have been warned to stay in their homes.
But nothing is going to stop Vern from getting to the game. Collecting her two friends (and Bingo partners), Honey (Liz Larsen) -a somewhat ditsy type, and Patsy (Janet Metz), a woman who has more lucky charms and pre-Bingo incantations than the most superstitious sports fans you'll ever meet, Vern heads for the Bingo hall.
However, the storm also brings up memories of a similar night 15 years ago, when the fourth member of the group, Bernice (Klea Blackhurst) had a falling out with Vern over a Bingo win and was banished from their circle. Now, just as the evening festivities begin, Allison, (Beth Malone) a young actress from New York sits down next to Vern and her friends. This woman carries with her a hidden secret -one that will be revealed before the final Bingo number is called.
The show's creative team has done a good job with the atmosphere of the piece by deciding to stage the show in a church theatre, and also making the audience feel they're a part of the action. Not only are patrons given free popcorn, they also get bingo cards of their own to play. Additionally, giving Allison no knowledge of Bingo whatsoever is a nice touch, as Vern and her companions then have to teach her the basics of the game.
The cast includes several very talented actresses, each of whom is an accomplished singer. Particularly enjoyable areMcCartney as she extols the importance of Bingo; Metz, who hilariously sings about having a vision in a supermarket aisle; and Malone, who we learn is starring in "Cuckoo," an off-off-off-off Broadway musical version of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," singing the hilariously serious "Ratched's Lament." (Hearing that song is almost worth the price of the show.). Also in the cast are Chevi Colton and Patrick Ryan Sullivan.
"Bingo" is a lot of fun and it's doubtful anyone will leave the theatre feeling cheated or upset.
Author: Marion Brémond