Posts Tagged ‘Richard Griffiths’

I’d saved this up for some out-of-town visitors, so I’m coming to it late. Add indifferent to late and that just about sums it up.

It’s a 40-year-old Neil Simon play that’s dated and creaking and I doubt it would be revived at all if they didn’t need a star vehicle for Danny DeVito. Given co-star Richard Griffiths doesn’t come on for 30 minutes and is only on stage around two-thirds of the time, it isn’t the double-act you expect. There are in fact eight characters, but we don’t meet five of them until after the interval, and then somewhat briefly.

Vaudeville act Willie Clark and Al Lewis haven’t spoken for 11 years after Al announced his retirement without consulting his partner. CBS wants them to reunite for a TV one-off of the history of vaudeville and Willie’s nephew and agent seeks to facilitate this. They snipe and bicker as they rehearse and record their most famous sketch and when its funny, it’s very funny – but isn’t funny enough of the time.

DeVito is a natural on stage and he does have great comic timing. Griffiths does his best with an underwritten part and Adam Levy is very good as the nephew / agent. There are five more actors whose time on stage makes them mere extras. Hildegard Bechtler has created a realistic seedy New York hotel suite where most of the action takes place. The TV recording takes place on a set in front of the curtain and it’s like travelling back in time to an age of the politically incorrect, predictable, crude and corny.

I didn’t dislike it. I wasn’t wowed by it. The cast seemed to be having more fun than we were. The audience of celebrity spotting tourists and rare theatre-goers was dreadful (easily pleased, noisy and rude). As I said, indifferent…..

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