Review: 'The Girl, the Grouch and the Goat' at the Chance Theater
A musical about a drought feels appropriate as we enter the parched months of summer. Chance Theater's production of "The Girl, the Grouch and the Goat" tells the story of an ancient Greek town where the lack of rain has turned the inhabitants against each other in a comic war for water. This piece of musical fluff isn't particularly memorable or inventive, but those desiring light romantic farce can be sure that their thirsts will be slaked by the end of the evening.
The show tells the story of Clemon (Glenn Koppel), a middle-aged miser who shamelessly price gouges the town for access to his well. His grip on the local economy falters when his daughter, Xanthippe (Tanya Raisa Mironowski), falls in love with Xander (Armando Gutierrez), the son of wealthy business owners. Various family squabbles ensue, with several characters ending up trapped at the bottom of Clemon's well by the time intermission rolls around.
With its comically anachronistic gloss on antiquity, the musical invokes "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and any number of BC farces. The songs were written by Mark Hollmann, a Tony winner for "Urinetown," which itself used a drought as a premise for its plot. The book by Jack Helbig is witty without being overly clever and moves the action along at a well-paced rhythm.
This production by the Chance Theater is the first time that "The Girl, the Grouch and the Goat" has been produced by a professional company following several workshops. There's a great deal of commercial promise in the material, and it could easily land a spot off-Broadway based on its name association with "Urinetown" alone.
The supporting cast is goofy and endearing (especially John Paul Karliak and David LaMarr as a pair of swishy narrators). Oanh Nguyen's direction never mistakes the show for more than it is — a whipped-cream dessert entertainment. Fittingly for a musical about drought, the story practically evaporates from mind as soon as it is over.
— David Ng
"The Girl, the Grouch and the Goat, The Chance Theater, 5552 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills. 8 p.m. Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. $35-$45. (714) 777-3033. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Caption: Brooke Cannons and Armando Gutierrez in "The Girl, the Grouch and the Goat." Credit: Tanae Beyer