Total Rating: 
***
Previews: 
September 21, 2017
Images: 
Opened: 
September 30, 2017
Ended: 
November 11, 2017
Country: 
USA
State: 
California
City: 
Los Angeles
Company/Producers: 
The Actors’ Gang
Theater Type: 
Regional
Theater: 
The Actors' Gang Theater
Theater Address: 
9070 Venice Boulevard
Phone: 
310-838-4264
Website: 
theactorsgang.com
Running Time: 
2 hrs, 15 min
Genre: 
Musical
Author: 
Book & Lyrics: Jack Pinter. Music: Roger Eno
Director: 
Will McFadden
Choreographer: 
Lindsay Kerr
Review: 

Captain Greedy’s Carnival is an agit-prop musical, a full-out assault on savage capitalism (which is how the French describe our economic system). Now in a world premiere at Actors’ Gang, the musical uses a carnival sideshow as its m.o., replete with barkers, animal acts, games of chance, puppets and freak shows. A 17-person cast brings the satirical proceedings to life, belting out 23 songs by Jack Pinter and Roger Eno, a couple of Brits who gleefully take the mickey out of free enterprise.

The main focus is on Captain Greedy (lustily performed by the director), a loud, brash pitchman who peddles his version of snake oil to the audience: greed, exploitation of the weak and poor, help the rich get richer. “You came here to be fooled and deceived, didn’t you?” he says sneeringly to the audience. “Well that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

When a kind of protest movement starts up, it is quickly co-opted by a husband and wife who bear a strong resemblance to our President and First Lady. They are even more rapacious, self-centered and dangerous than Captain Greedy and his raffish minions. As a result, the gullible public is left to dig its own grave (the title of one of Pinter’s songs).

The carnival motif is carried out everywhere in the theatre, not just on stage but in the lobby and environs as well. No punches are pulled by Pinter and Eno, who are unrelenting in their attack on capitalism, which was inspired by the crash of 2008. Amazingly, every one of their songs is not only pointed, but funny, jaunty and captivating.

Also worthy of high praise is the hard-working cast, most of whom sing and dance in multiple roles, clad in Christie Harms’ outrageously hilarious costumes. Captain Gredy’s Carnival might run about fifteen minutes too long, but that’s a flaw you can put up with, if only because the show is so funny, brave and hard-hitting.

Cast: 
Will McFadden, Bob Turton, Adam Bennett and Mary Eileen O’Donnell.
Technical: 
Projections: Cihan Sahin; Lighting: Bosco Flanagan; Costumes: Christie Harms; Design: Jason Lovett, Will Thomas McFadden & Django Pinter
Critic: 
Willard Manus
Date Reviewed: 
October 2017