Wednesday, February 18, 2015

review - FOOLS - Brelby Theatre Company

Baily Schultz and Devon Mahon
(photo: Shelby Maticic)
For more information on this production, that runs through February 28th, click here.

"Turns out even an 'average' Neil Simon comedy can be a funny affair. His play Fools, which is receiving a spirited production from the Brelby Theatre Company, is a farcical comedy, a fable set in a small Ukrainian village in the 1890s.  While Fools only ran a month on Broadway and may not be on the same comedic level as such Simon classics as The Odd Couple and Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Brelby production proves that if you have a talented cast and direction a show can become a very fun experience.  The story follows Leon Steponovitch Tolchinsky, a schoolteacher who has come to the village of Kulyenchikov to teach the daughter of Doctor Zubritsky and his wife, Lenya. Leon meets the inhabitants of the village and quickly realizes they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed. They are all under a 200-year-old curse that has made everyone ignorant. And when he falls in love with Zubritsky's daughter Sophia, he goes about finding a way to reverse the curse. While the ending of the play is fairly obvious, Simon has provided plenty of fun twists and turns, and several humorous characters for us to encounter along the way to the inevitable conclusion.  Director Shelby Maticic has found a cast to fulfill her inspired direction, including several Brelby regulars. Maticic's staging makes good use of the small Brelby space, including a hilarious use of the exit door. She draws funny portrayals of the characters from her actors, allowing them to go into caricature a bit, as that is what Simon's script requires. While the play is not Simon's best work, with a solid cast and clear direction, the winning Brelby production is anything but a flop." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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