Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Gold Cadillac" shines again

Cleveland Press August 16, 1973

"This is not business," the government official says. I've discovered something in Washington. It's honesty."

Those are lines out of "Solid Gold Cadillac," the 1963 play that is being revived at Caine Park's Alma Theater and which opened last night.

Is the show dated? Has the world turned upside down? Not really. Remember, those lines were written by George S. Kaufman, one of the sharpest wits in the theater and undoubtedly Kaufman was aiming his barbs at both business and government.

But it was mostly about business that Kaufman and his collaborator, Howard ; Teichmann, were writing -- business and its shenanigans. "Solid Gold Cadillac" is a modern fairy tale about the little guy (in this case, the little woman) who defeats the evil leaders.

Evie McElroy of the Play House plays the elderly widow, performing with a talented company of community theater people directed by Chris Colombi Jr.

It's a pleasure to see Miss McElroy in a major comedy role. Her parts at the Play House have been predominantly dramatic, and only occasionally has she had a chance to be funny. She always succeeded when she did and this time she has a chance to succeed in a big way.

Her co-star is Mark Strapp, excellent as the business leader turned government official who returns to New York to help unseat the men who have taken over. Strapp has some hilarious moments as he recalls his school days and the recitation he gave in class, complete with gestures.

The play is the story of the innocent and naive stockholder (10 shares) who asks several embarrassing questions at a meeting, is put on the payroll to shut her up and who eventually takes over the company.

Ed O'Brien, Russ Duino, Bruce Beran and Miles Barnes are the four comic villains.

The production is a well-paced comedy, the play itself sufficiently light for summer fare, yet a cut above some of the mindless fluff that too often comes along. The Kaufman wit is as sharp as ever.