Search This Site

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Review- The Actor’s Nightmare & The Real Inspector Hound (T. Schreiber Studios)

The Fab Marquee Review by Peyton Wise.

For its final show of the 2008 Season, T. Schreiber Studio is presenting a double bill of famous one-acts. Christopher Durang’s The Actor’s Nightmare portrays an understudy/actor/accountant pulled on-stage to perform a part he never rehearsed in a performance that shifts between famous plays. Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound portrays two critics whose personal problems are drawn into the play they’re reviewing. The plays suit each other well. Both are surreal farces about the blurred lines between stage and reality. They have fundamental philosophical questions underpinning the premise and the humor. They are both structured to build laughter, even as they twist the knife.


The plays are given equal treatment. Both are lavishly designed, with a rich palette and an incredible set that builds an ornate proscenium with boxes into a black box theatre. Both plays are well-cast and meticulously staged. And both are so restrained they fail to reach the mania the lines suggest. It’s like hearing individual solos in place of the Hallelujah chorus. The moments may be lovely, but they don’t add to their intended sum.

That said, there are truly funny moments in both shows. Anyone with a smattering of theatrical history will enjoy Durang’s upending of beloved plays. Sara Goff’s incisive send-up of Beckett is a must-see. (In fact, she has several wicked caricatures throughout the nightmare.) Michael Black, as the unwitting performer, is charmingly bumbling as he tries to keep his head. The critics of Inspector Hound (Julian Elfer and Rick Forstmann) have a patter that is as hilarious as it is painful to anyone who’s ever been at the mercy of men like them.

With so many of the elements in place, one can’t help but wonder what the evening would be if the plays reached their suggested pitch. Both are given a lovely structure, but the shadow of what they could have been steals the scenes.

T. Schreiber Studios presents
The Actor’s Nightmare &
The Real Inspector Hound

May 8-June 15th, 2008 (Thu-Sat @8pm, Sun @3pm)
Gloria Maddox Theatre

A suggested donation of $20.00 (Senior $15; General Student $17) is requested, and advance tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 212-352-3101.

Gloria Maddox Theatre | 151 West 26th Street, 7th Floor | Manhattan.

No comments: