Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Actor's Nightmare
The Real Inspector Hound

I had a blast at this double-bill of theatre-related one-acts at T. Schreiber Studio. First, Christopher Durang's delightful absurdity in which a hapless accountant is mistaken for an actor and forced to fend for himself on stage in front of an audience. The play is my preferred brand of hilarious, as the fish-out-of-water accountant (Michael Black) flops about trying to fake his way through a play that morphs Coward, Shakespeare and Beckett, and I don't have a single serious complaint about this production, which has been well-paced for madcap fun and is energized by Black's endearing performance. Second, Tom Stoppard's barbed comedy in which two drama critics critique (and eventually enter) a run-of-the-mill whodunit. It's not as successfully realized in this production as the Durang piece - not all of the performances in the play within the play are sufficiently heightened enough - but it's good, snickering fun anyhow, and the actors playing the critics (Julian Elfer and Rick Forstmann) are devilishly spot-on. Special mentions: Nan Wray, appearing in both plays and pitch-perfect in each, and George Allison, who's come up with yet another impressive set design for the modest T. Schreiber space.

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