Monday, November 30, 2015





By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Like Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple, like Gogo and Didi in Waiting for Godot, Dave and Aaron of this new delightful show from 1812 Productions, are a  mismatched pair of guys who work perfectly together. And like those other plays, Dave and Aaron Go To Work, is a ode to friendship—moving as well as funny--but in this case, a silent ode. Not a word is spoken during this rich seventy minutes.

Since Dave Jadico and Aaron Cromie are not only the stars of the show but its creators, they are perfectly suited to the roles. Jadico is  Mr. Neat, Mr. Precise, Mr. Raised Eyebrow. If he spoke he’d say, “Really?”  Cromie is Mr. Messy, Mr.Slapdash, Mr. Hapless Stare. If he spoke he’d  say, “What?.” But they don’t speak except with their faces and their meticulous miming. Charlie Chaplin squared.

The two share a tiny room—the more you look at the set (designed by Jadico), the cleverer it gets. They wake up, shave, dress, cook breakfast,  and read the want ads in the newspaper in a space without an inch to spare.  Their morning routine is repeated over and over—each time better—as they find job after job.

They go from librarians (a dazzling display of book shelving), to zoologist (Cromie’s giant lizard puppet is adorable), to power line repairmen, to astronauts (Cromie’s miniature spacemen are perfect as we watch a tiny moonlanding), to museum guards,  to short order cooks. Each adventure ends in disaster, until finally they part ways. Then their individual jobs lead them back to each other (as if we ever doubted a happy ending).

With a witty sound design by Alex Bechtel, hilarious costumes by Katherine Fritz, and directed with wild precision  by Lee Ann Etzold,  Dave and Aaron Go to Work is an ideal holiday and family entertainment.


1812 Productions at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714  Delancey St. Through Dec.31.

Tickets $22 to $38  Information: 215-592-9560 or


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About this blog

Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer where she reviews New York and London as well as Philadelphia. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of five books about modern and contemporary drama, and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). She was recently named by American Theatre magazine "one of the twelve most influential critics in America."

Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.

Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.

Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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