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updated: 6/21/2013 9:18 AM

Great songs make up for high jinks in Fox Valley's 'Fools'

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  • Dee Dee (Mary-Margaret Roberts), Flo (Carrie Weis), Sally (Stephanie Herman) and Millie (Carol Rose) consult the Magic 8 Ball in Fox Valley Repertory's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?"

      Dee Dee (Mary-Margaret Roberts), Flo (Carrie Weis), Sally (Stephanie Herman) and Millie (Carol Rose) consult the Magic 8 Ball in Fox Valley Repertory's "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?"

 
 

As someone who has giggled, screeched, swooned, whined and gossiped her way through many a "Girls' Night In," I can tell you "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" is every bit as fun, silly, fluffy, endearing and -- might I add -- occasionally annoying as the real thing.

The Fox Valley Repertory production, directed and choreographed by Kyle Donahue, is a romp through the '60s featuring four friends who tackle the issues of love, marriage, fidelity and dating with a little help from tequila shots and sugar highs (margaritas and Sno Balls, to be exact).

Millie, played with charming grace by Carol Rose, is getting married and her friends rally to support her, even though she doesn't realize she needs any support. Yet, singing their way through the ups and downs of their assorted love lives are Sally, a man-crazed blonde performed with busty bravado by Stephanie Herman; bookish Flo, portrayed by Carrie Weis with a nice mix of restrained silliness; and wisecracking tag-along Dee Dee, played with great comedic timing by Mary-Margaret Roberts.

Like all jukebox musicals "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" is, of course, all about the music. So depending on your affinity for poppy tunes like "My Boy Lollipop" and "Hey There Lonely Boy," you'll find yourself either singing along or waiting for the next tune more to your liking.

There are a lot of great songs in this performance including "Baby I'm Yours," "Goin' Out of My Head" and "Hurt So Bad," as well as the title tune "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" All four of the actresses are strong singers, and a number of the songs allow them to showcase their talent. The choreography, however, while an homage to the girl groups of the era with all the hip-swaying and showy arm movements, seems a little stilted. (Diana Ross and the Supremes, they ain't.)

Of course, this is slapstick and supposed to be silly. Trouble is the high jinks occasionally get in the way of a good song. When I hear "I Will Follow Him," I don't want the attending silliness. Sometimes you just want to hear a great rendition of an old favorite.

But as soon as you get annoyed, along comes another song to your liking. Herman's all-out rendition of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" is a great example of letting the singer strut her stuff.

This production is a fast-paced performance and there's no time for disappointment. As the ladies start facing their romantic issues, the more-serious second act allows the music to shine through.

And, like all good slumber parties, a good time was had by all. "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" is filled with laughter, tears, friendship, gossip, music and sugar, lots and lots of sugar.

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