Friday, January 18, 2008

"Is He Dead?"

Saw this on TDF Wed night. Definitely one to check out, especially now since it's cold, gloomy, and we're all getting SADS. The play itself is so old and creaky, it's practically brand-new sparkly. Byron Jennings is - literally - the black-caped mustache twirling villain. David Pittu gets away with murder in a number of small roles. And Norbert Leo Butz - OK, some reviews say he's a comic genius and I don't know if I'd go that far - don't know if I'd classify him as up there with Chaplin, W.C. Fields and Dame Edna - but he is damn damn funny. He works a 'take' like I haven't seen onstage before.

He has a moment in the second act when he busts out into a furious clog on top of his own coffin, working the skirts of his big blue antebellum gown. Glorious.

I saw him several years ago in "The Last Five Years," and thought he was an excellent, charming musical actor. But I didn't know he was capable of the kind of performance he gives in "Is He Dead?"


Tara Dairman said...

I've got TDF tickets to check this out tomorrow--excited to see one more good mention of it!

David Johnston said...

Yeah! Like I said, I don't think it's a great play, and it's not a night of theatre that's going to change your life. But it is a lot of fun.

Tara Dairman said...

We enjoyed it, but apparently not as much as the blue-haired crowd around us, who were practically screaming with laughter at every line. Guess that's what I get for going to the matinee! I thought David Pittu was fantastic--he was probably my favorite, although the whole cast was very energetic and likable. The play itself reminded us of Moliere...which is not a bad thing.