Theater: No Madness in these Marxes

Anyone who has loved the Marx Brothers a lot is bound to like Minnie's Boys a little. The musical, based on their early lives, is only fitfully amusing and tunefully nondescript. But it is just ingratiating enough to capitalize on audience good will, the unnumbered happy hours during which people have watched and remembered the zany antics of the brothers on film.

There are pitiably few zany antics in Minnie's Boys, a reflection of several basic errors in conception and construction that the musical never overcomes. In essence, the Marx Brothers were absurdists, comic illogicians who disrupted routines, tipped the daily balance...

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