A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Sunshine Boys at the Stageloft Theater

Full disclosure. My wife and I went to the play because a friend has one of the principal roles. Being a nepotist, this may color some of my opinion. Then again, it may not.

I had never seen the film version or one of the many stage versions of Neil Simon's, The Sunshine Boys. Seeing it for the first times was a small pleasure. It did not change my opinion of Mr. Simon. He is a writer of pleasant comedies and if you do not expect too much, you will spend time watching an enjoyable play.

The Sunshine boys is the story of a Willie Clark who hated his partner, Al Lewis. They had been a comedy team for decades and after breaking up, did not speak to each other for 11 years. Clark's nephew, Ben Silverman, who is also his agent, has a network offer. CBS wants Clark and Lewis to reunite as part of a special on the history of comedy.

Willie is adamant he won't do it. Ben coaxes him and he grudgingly agrees. The two old men take up where they left off in their cantankerous relationship. It resolves well enough after the all the contentious twists and turns.

The actors in the three main roles, Mark Patrick as Clark, Zack Murphy as Ben Silverman and Fred D'Angelo as Lewis are all good. The supporting cast does well too. Some of the play could be shortened. The furniture moving scene is overlong and in spots the dialogue goes on more than it should. Still, it's Simon and fun.

The audience was not young. This is understandable. We are a long way from vaudeville and the style of comedy that arose in that milieu. The Ed Sullivan show, referenced in play, is gone and remembered by the boomer generation, but irrelevant to any other age cohort.

So, if you are of that era and want a bit of nostalgia, The Sunshine boys will be at the Stageloft tonight and tomorrow afternoon. If you are younger, it's a chance to view another world.

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