PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The new production at the Walnut Street Theatre’s tiny “Studio on 3” may not be everybody’s favorite, but it arrives with impressive talent performing in a wacky vehicle.

Our first impression was Robert Kramer’s colorful set — an eye-catching mini-theatre surrounded by liquor bottles.

The performers arrive with ringleader Frank Ferrante — familiar the world over for his recreation of Groucho Marx — for a production he’s calling “Caesar’s Palace O’ Fun,” a mayhem-driven variety show in which he plays the oily Caesar, who enjoys parading selected members of the audience.

He sings and prances about, introducing David Smith, spirited juggler and sideshow artist, along with the attractive Jennie Eisenhower, the popular local legend and clearly the classiest member of the crew.

However, Ferrante is unstoppable as the persistent master of ceremonies — unctuous to a fault, and whose concept of fun is clearly overworked.

At show’s end the audience is coaxed into applause but it’s questionable whether it comes as “reward” or “relief.”

Like it or not, “Caesar’s Palace O’ Fun” is scheduled to run through January 2nd, upstairs at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Reviewed by Bob Nelson, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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