"Let us pause to consider the persistence of Groucho Marx. Only yesterday, I read a piece by the Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens, in which she noted that her kids considered some of her favorite films from the '80s and '90s -- Back to the Future, Big, and A League of Their Own among others -- to be hopelessly antediluvian in their attitudes. I have no doubt that she is correct -- and yet, there I was, at the Connelly Theatre, seeing a revival of Marx Brothers bauble from 1924, with an audience that had a significant complement of pre-adolescents, and Noah Diamond, the actor playing Groucho, was slaying -- with the loudest laughter coming from the kids in the house. The young man on my right, who looked to be about eleven, was enjoying himself mightily. That Diamond scored by impersonating a performer whose heydays -- on Broadway and in movies of the '20s and '30s and as a game show host in the '50s -- are as good as eons away for audience members better acquainted with the Disney Channel is, in my opinion, nothing less than remarkable.
"Then again, why not? I've seen several Groucho impersonators in my time and Diamond is one of the best. With the application of the eyebrows, the glasses, and the greasepaint mustache, he's a dead ringer for Groucho, and he has captured that reedy, insinuating voice that levels logic and blows solemnity to smithereens. He dashes around the stage in that familiar dropping-camel walk, relentlessly delivering one-liners like one of those automated pitching machines in a batter's cage.
"Diamond is fast on his feet and has mastered the art of the Marxian ad lib: At the performance I attended, the curtain failed to fully part for the opening scene, causing some frantic stagehands to pull it back and drape it. A couple of minutes later, Diamond entered and, looking right at us, said, 'The tickets cost thirty dollars. You didn't expect the curtain to open all the way, did you?'"
-- David Barbour, Lighting & Sound America