I love Lucy and she loves me, We’re as happy as two can be – the first two ironic lines from the theme song of the iconic 1950s American television sit-com I Love Lucy. Ironic because Desi Arnaz sang them about his wife and co-star of the show, Lucille Ball: and yet it was Ball’s extreme popularity with a nation and her dedication to her profession during the show that ended their marriage – in fact, Ball filed for divorce the same day as their last I Love Lucy episode was taped.
The promotional material for Everybody Loves Lucy gives the impression that audiences will learn about the life of Lucille Ball by mentioning details such as her being questioned by Congress regarding her Communist sympathies and the fact that she was the first female head of a major film company, Desilu Productions. This is not the case.
This highly entertaining show concentrates on the I Love Lucy years, her relationship with Desi Arnaz (nicely played by the show’s musical director, Nigel Ubrihien), her second pregnancy and her immense dedication to her job at making America laugh. The show also cleverly satirises the conventions and mores of the Fifties – females dedication to family and husband, how Gin was the ‘housewife’s friend’ and how popular smoking was at the time
If an actor is going to portray someone who is an icon, they need to be spot-on: Elise McCann is! In fact, she is so much like the comedienne in every aspect – except McCann sings better – that one has to wonder if there is indeed such a thing as reincarnation. McCann re-enacts two of Ms Ball’s most famous routines from the series (the Ballet Lesson and the Vitamin Tonic Commercial skits) hilariously accurately, right down to the last drop of tonic: and let’s not forget the famous ‘Waaaaah’ cry – done perfectly by McCann.
Lucille Ball paved the way for many comediennes and female performers, not just in America but all over the Western world. McCann is one such performer and we need to see more of her talents and tireless energy. Unfortunately, the run of Everybody Loves Lucy was only a day, but if we wish hard enough on any strand of red hair we find, maybe it will return some day.
I love Lucy, we all love Lucy, everybody loves Lucy and we all adore Elise McCann!
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Banquet Room Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Season: season ended
Duration: 1 hour 10 mins
The Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs from 6 – 21 June 2014