Klub Kokomo, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. Though Beach Boy Mike Love–proprietor of the real Klub Kokomo and this play’s associate producer–couldn’t attend the opening-night festivities, he was represented by an imposing number of lanky, balding middle-aged performers in blinding Hawaiian shirts impersonating bartenders, waiters, bouncers, and the like. Paul Stanley’s script–about a pair of young-at-heart fortysomethings trying to rekindle their earlier romance, with the aid of meddling friends and relatives–surmounts expectations. And while most of the jokes come in the form of polite “when I was your age” reminiscences, Stanley manages a few zingers: “My generation changed the government–yours can’t even change a president,” quips Uncle Bobby.
It’s a show that relies heavily on audience nostalgia to elicit chuckles of approval, but there’s also some surprisingly deep character work. Director Richard Shavzin’s cast–particularly leads Daniel Patrick Sullivan and Kelley Hazen–are excellent. Of course, lots of the excitement here comes from the nightclub setting, the bamboo furniture and faux palm branches. But if that doesn’t have you hooked on a feeling, the midshow performance by 60s hipster Mark Lindsay–an a capella medley of his Paul Revere and the Raiders singles–will.