Five Course Love

"If music be the food of love ...," contrapositively, food must be the music of love, which makes Five Course Love, the new cabaret show at the Denver Center, a snappy musical derivative of the Bard's Twelfth Night. Replete with odysseys, mistaken identity, and the proper pairings in doubt until the last minute, all served with delicious and delirious sauce.

Jordan Leigh, Daniel Langhoff, and Sarah Rex
Jordan Leigh, Daniel Langhoff, and Sarah Rex
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The imaginative script would have us think we are viewing a series of love encounters in five different restaurants, only to delight us with some pleasing magical twists that bring a classical ending, just as "Shake-speare" would have it.

Matt (Daniel Langhoff), your average plastic pocket protector nerd, is on his way to a blind encounter set up by a dating service. As he walks into the restaurant he realizes things are not what he remembered at this location.

Jordan Leigh, Daniel Langhoff, and Sarah Rex
(Jordan Leigh, Daniel Langhoff, and Sarah Rex
Photo: Terry Shapiro
From there, events take a phantasmagoric turn, as we go from honkey-tonking in a Texas BBQ joint to melodrama in an Italian neighborhood watering hole, then onward to a wild Mexican cantina, a naughty German hofbrau and, finally, Pop's soda shop.

Whenever called for, ever the consummate schlep, Jordan Leigh, morphs from one maitre d' to the next—from a two-gunned, chap-winged, tobasco talkin', Texas hold 'em high to hapless Neopolitan go-between for a mob ménage à trois, to say nothing of a Sancho Panza sendup, a Bavarian two-timer, and a cherubic guardian angel of the diner. Leigh's clowns are ever the losers in battle with his romantic rival, Langhoff's equally distinctive caricatures, which evolve from Matt the nerd to a slick, upcoming mobster, a gallant caballero, a kinky Teutonic swinger, and ...(spoiler alert avoided).

Jordan Leigh, Sarah Rex, and Daniel Langhoff
Jordan Leigh,Sarah Rex,
and Daniel Langhoff
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The two males are fighting over the barfly bombshell Barbie, or is it Sofia the Siena seductress, Gretchen the Berliner dominatrix, the fair Rosalinda from south of the Rio Grande, or Kitty the dime-store novel junkie that helps Pops with the ice cream shop? Sarah Rex knocks 'em dead in any case, not only her zany stage suitors, but all the men in the audience. And that was before she dazzled us with her impressive vocal range and physical comedy.

Hats off Troy Schuh, musical director/conductor/pianist, Eric Thomas, drums, and Austin Hein, bass, for their distillation of a delightful series of folk idioms.

Director Ray Roderick is a master of the cabaret genre. This is the comic version of the Kit Kat Club times five, with stops around the world.

Denver Center Attractions presentation of Gregg Coffin's Five Course Love runs through June 19th. 303-893-4100 or

Bob Bows


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