Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Lakewood's "Yum Yum Tree" Leaves Audience Laughing

Cleveland Press March 4, 1965

"Under the Yum Yum Tree" is a one-joke sex farce and members of last night's audience seemed to like it. At least they laughed loudly.

It is difficult to say just what is and what is not proper material for a little theater group. When it was announced, "Becket" seemed to me an unlikely candidate for a Lakewood Little Theater offering. But this group's production. of "Becket" was the best thing it has done in several seasons.

The superior material seemed to bring out the best in everyone. This time around the company has some decidedly inferior material with which to work, a matter of going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

"Yum Yum Tree" is the play about the lecherous landlord (Tom Slowey) who has a key to the apartment across the hall, an apartment always occupied by a pretty girl. It also is about a rather mixed-up girl (Valerie London) who has a notion that she and her betrothed (Paul Singer) can learn if they are compatible by living together, but only platonically,

IT ASKS the question -- if anyone cares: Can a man and woman in love live in the same apartment and remain only friends?

It takes two long acts to present the obvious answer. Meanwhile there is the inevitable pursuit by the leering landlord and the finance whose scruples are beginning to crumble.

Though everyone works hard and earnestly, it takes acting more deft than this to keep the risque from seeming merely coarse.