Sunday, May 18, 2008
The Actor's Nightmare/The Real Inspector Hound
Christopher Durang's The Actor's Nightmare and Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound are two fantastic (and fantastically different) riffs on the theater. Durang, ever the manic comedian, goes for broad strokes as he thrusts a hapless accountant, George (Michael Black), into an olio of dramas (Coward, Beckett, Shakespeare), skewering the whole lot with his memories of nuns. Stoppard, always one step ahead, ridicules the murder mystery (Christie's long-running The Mousetrap) by having two critics, Moon and Birdboot, remark on (and indulge in) the proceedings (Julian Elfer and Rick Forstmann, playing Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier-like roles). It's a funny evening, but it's soured by thoughts of how sweet the production could have been, had Peter Jensen pushed the physical comedy further, and really sharpened the timing of both pieces. Some bits come very close, as when Spelvin haplessly grips a potted plant, or when Moon finds his own acting under the lens of the critics, but my funny bone ached for more.