Comedy is a lot like music, constantly evolving according to tastes, culture, and age. Ask your grandmother who the best comedian around is; it’s doubtful she’ll respond with “Aziz Ansari” or “Louis C. K.” (If your grandmother would indeed respond in such a way, congratulations on having the hippest grandmother.) But while tastes may change, what remains unchanged is the goal: make ‘em laugh. The Sunshine Boys, now playing at the Keegan Theatre, reflects on a golden age of comedy, and amidst the nostalgia, delivers those laughs.
Produced in 1972, The Sunshine Boys was Neil Simon’s 12th play. With three Tony nominations, film and television adaptations, and revivals both on Broadway and the West End, it’s among Simon’s most popular works. Simon was a comedy powerhouse, managing to thread the hijinks of middle class life with its inherent drama, never shying away from real concerns, and real people.
The Sunshine Boys brings us back to the 1970’s, and does so with a warm and immaculate set and vintage threads to match. Ben (Peter Finnegan) is coming to visit his uncle Willie Clark (Kevin Adams) a vaudeville comic long past his heyday and struggling to find work (and to remember the names of his grandkids). A juicy offer from CBS comes his way under one condition: he must reunite with Al Lewis (Timothy H. Lynch), the other half of his beloved vaudeville act, and his sworn nemesis.
The two men then square off in an hilarious, expertly executed attempt to come together that brings out both the mastery of Simon’s dialogue, and the charm of the vaudeville comedy.
The Sunshine Boys
Closes October 19, 2013
1742 Church Street, NW
2 hours with 1 intermission
Tickets: $30 – $35
Thursdays thru Sundays
Finnegan and Adams take on Sunshine’s pitter patter rhythm as though they’ve been partners for years. Embodying both the brazenness of vaudeville and the quick Simon wit, the two are truly entertaining to watch. Under Michael Innocenti’s direction, the production is tight, rarely lagging and largely precise. Like any good piece of music it knows when to break, when to build, and when to quiet the chorus and let the audience feel a thing or two.
As Willie and Al sit around, lamenting the loss of the “good old days” of comedy, imagining our elders lamenting the loss of the Neil Simon-styled comedy doesn’t feel that far off, either. Watching a show from a distant era about a show from a distant era… is that what the young kids would call “meta?” I guess I’m getting old, too.
They don’t make them like Willie and Al anymore, just as they don’t write them like Neil Simon. But the Keegan Theatre brings you back to both warm and fuzzy times and places, and hits its marks along the way.
The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon . Directed by Michael Innocenti . Featuring Timothy H. Lynch and Kevin Adams. Michael Innocenti directs, with a cast that features Peter Finnegan, William Aitken, Maria Rizzo, Nello DeBlasio, and Kecia Campbell . Set design: George Lucas and Eric Lucas . Lighting Design: Colin Dieck . Costumes: Brittany Harris . Sound Design: Dan Deiter . Properties and Set Dressing: Carol H. Baker . Stage Manager: Will Pommering . Produced by Keegan Theatre . Reviewed by Sarah Ameigh.
Amanda Gunther . DCMetroTheaterArts [/wpcol_4fifth_end]