Theatre Review: "I Love Lucy Live On Stage"

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As a comedian growing up I had many influences. Growing up as a girl who was funny has always been a challenge because frankly women aren’t supposed to be funny. Of these many female comedians, Gilda Radner, Carol Burnette and of course Lucie Ball were my biggest Heroes. I Love Lucy was a staple for me growing up, Lucy was the epitome of hilarious and I wanted to know how that red head got that timing so right! I would have given anything to meet Lucille Ball during her life but going to see I Love Lucy Live! was as close to sitting in the studio audience of DesiLu productions as I could get.

This show is polished and clean and so fun to watch! I enjoyed witnessing the making of this great gem of the golden age of television. Each cast member delivers laughs, and really makes you feel that you are sitting watching a brand new episode of I Love Lucy being taped. The character work shows on the faces, mannerisms and expressions of all the main characters, which for a diehard Lucy fan such as myself was very nice to see. From start to finish, the audience interactions and the true spirit of a “live” taping of the show was easy to believe.

This gifted cast of characters has you laughing and feeling great! I must pay a great tribute to Sirena Irwin, who plays the incomparable red head. Ms. Irwin was spectacular stepping into some big shoes! She not only looked like Lucille Ball but walked, talked and even got the tone of her speak correct. My only desire as, again, a die hard Lucy fan and comic is that the timing be a bit quicker on delivery of punch lines and the tried and true Luciesque lines. However, this small detail is not to take away from Ms. Irwin’s wonderful job as Lucy.

Hats off to Bill Mendieta who plays Ricky Ricardo just as charmingly and charismatically as Desi Arnaz did so many years ago! I had to blink a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t staring at Desi as Bill embodies the beloved Cuban! Kevin Remington’s Fred and Joanna Daniels’ Ethel Mertz would make William Frawly and Vivian Vance proud! And the supporting cast… There are no words to say how amazing and funny they each were!

Each moment of this show keeps you laughing, surprises you and delights! I would love to see this show again and again! Its been a while since I’ve seen so much heart, so much joy in a production!

I Love Lucy Live on Stage is at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts thru the 23rd of March, DO NOT MISS IT!

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