REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

PumpBoys and Dinettes by Theo Ubique

Conceived and written by John Foley, Pump Boys and Dinettes at Theo Ubique

Mark Hardwick,

Debra Monk, Cass Morgan,

John Schimmel

and Jim Wann

Directed by Fred Anzevino

Music Direction by Jim DeSelm

Choreography by James Beaudry

Heartwarming and nicely performed rockabilly revue entertains

Turning their intimate space at No Exit Cafe into Route 57’s Carolina Double Cupp Diner, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, under Fred Anzevino’s tight direction, has another honest and warm revue on its hands.

Pump Boys and Dinettes at Theo Ubique

After long runs in NYC starting in 1980 and six years in Chicago, Pump Boys and Dinettes seems fresh and energetic on the close up No Exit cafe’s space.  Pump Boys and Dinettes is a fun revue using the motif of a diner along US 57 somewhere in the mid South between Frog Level and Smyrna.

Pump Boys and Dinettes is a rockabilly, honky-tonk show  that reminds  a night at the Grand Ole Opry. It pays homage to 50’s country music and the peculiar traits of Southern rural folks.


This highly entertaining musical revue is light on story featuring  small vignettes designed to introduce the next song. Courtney Crouse, in fine voice, narrates and introduces us to the folks at the garage and the diner. Pump Boys featuring a nice blend of country, folk, old-time rockabliiy, blue grass, Cajun, cowboy and western, blues with  gospel thrown in. This revue easily grabs us and holds on until we’re filled with enough toe-tapping tunes to satisfy. This show is light, pure escapism designed to simply relieve us form our stress-filled lives for a couple of hours.

Pump Boys and Dinettes at Theo Ubique

Musically, this show contains a pleasing diverse set of country-folk-rock songs deftly produced by Alan Bukowiecki, Brian Burke, Jesse Kazemek and Shaun Whitley with pots & pans percussion by Christine Hall and Danni Smith. Courtney Crouse, Jim DeSelm and Alex Stage tproduced excellent harmonies and fine acoustic sounds with lots of funny stuff with  a few tender tender moments thrown in. Among the terrific bouncy songs was the rocking song “Drinkin’ Shoes, “ a country-rock song. “Taking It Slow,” “Pump Boys,” and “Farmer Tan” thoroughly entertained while heartfelt songs like “The Best Man,” ” Mamaw,” and “Sisters” were moving ballads. Christine Hall and Danni Smith won our hearts as the lonely sisters.

Pump Boys and Dinettes at Theo Ubique

The flavor, attitudes and personae of small town, rural Southern America was aptly depicted in this cute show. From haunting ballads to odes to grandma to a rocking number “Tips” where the two waitresses converge on the audience to solicit tips, Pump Boys vividly depicts the angst of rural life.  The marvelous song “Closing Time” is an ode to all honky-tonk joints everywhere. Jim DeSelm’s fine arrangements of the original songs written in the styles of 1950’s hits carried the show. For a nostalgic look back into an innocent time in America, Pump Boys and Dinettes delivers. We like the folks at the diner and we enjoy our pit stop. The pies is tasty and the coffee is hot. The six member cast works hard to please.


Tom Williams

Jeff Recommended

At No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL, call 773-347-1109 or, tickets $29 – $34, Thursdays at 7:30 pm,Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, running time 1 hour, 50 minutes with intermission, through January 15, 2012

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