Theatre on the Square, Mainstage
Directed by Ron Spencer
When Neanderthals invented the first play, they were as terrified as when they discovered fire and were quickly consumed by their fledgling stage egos. For Ug! The Caveman Musical, Jim Geoghan, Rick Rhodes and Vivian Rhodes took a small, very funny idea and turned it into two hours populated by a few choice insider theatrical jokes and too many weak, show-tuney songs. The recorded piano and string accompaniment and the Charleston and Box Step choreography come off more pleasantly cheesy than full-blown spoofy. To his credit, director Ron Spencer gets each player to sell the silly story hard. As the tribal leader and his mate, Dane Rogers and Sarah Hoffman (a lovely singer) convince us, with their oddly titled love theme "Tingle," that the two ought to stick together. Though untrained as a singer, Thomas Turner is fun as the stock gay-cook-turned-bitchy-costumer. Erin Cohenour grinds and belts, even does the splits, to fulfill her role as comic femme fatale. When a neighboring tribe (the enjoyable William Andrews and Ian Cruz) comes to see the play within the play and the cavemen upstage each other violently, Act II delivers the hilarity missing from most of Act I. For a few blissful moments, Ug! reaches the high art of low spoof. Through Oct. 17; 685-TOTS, www.tots.org.