Gunmetal Blues’ storyline is dopey and derivative. You’ve got the requisite hardboiled shamus in the well-worn trenchcoat, the familiar leggy blonde who walks in mystery, and a wisecracking piano player who goes by the self-deprecating name of Buddy Toupee. Ho frigging hum. It’s the presence of a few thoughtful ballads by Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler, like “Childhood Days” and “I’m the One That Got Away,” that provide just enough sophistication to elevate this North Coast Rep offering above what otherwise might feel like dinner-theater fare. This Scott Wentworth-penned spoof of noir private-dick movies has been around since 1992 and somehow is still going strong. Guess it will be as long as we keep romanticizing the tropes of an increasingly wearisome genre.
All that said, Gunmetal Blues, directed by Andrew Barnicle, does showcase a talented three-person musical ensemble (Matt Best, Tom Versen and Fred Ubaldo, Jr.) and a leggy blonde (Sharon Rietkerk) who can really belt ‘em out.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.