NY Review: THE HEIR APPARENT

 

By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Who knew there were so many rhymes in English? David Ives, that's who.  The supersmart playwright whose plays have had recent local productions (New Jerusalem, Venus in Fur, and The Liar--could three plays be more different?), gives his devoted fans a new and hilarious show, The Heir Apparent.  

Ives' adaptation from an 18th century French comedy by Jean-Francois Regnard, is written entirely in rhyme, performed by a cast as adept at physical comedy as they are at verbal acrobatics.

Director John Rando keeps the show filled with crude sight gags as well as verbal wit, where "venomous" rhymes with "enemas" (diarrhea becomes a theme) and "dowager" rhymes with "Howitzer," and "gaucher" rhymes with "kosher," and there are three little pigs named Julie.

Here's an excessive sample:

This is the basilisk, Madame Argante!

She whom the Prince of Darkness couldn't daunt.

She next to whom a rock looks nonchalant.

Who makes Godzilla seem a mad bacchante.

To whom Attila is a dilettante.

The plot is the usual Comedie Francaise formula: an old miser named Geronte (Paxton Whitehead) has a nephew Eraste (Dave Quay) who wants him to write a will making him the sole heir to his fortune, thus letting him marry the adorable Isabelle (Amelia Pedlow).  In charge of the elaborate dupings are the clever servant Crispin (Carson Elrod) and the maid Lisette (Claire Karpen).  In the course of various and devious shenanigans, there is a hilariously tiny lawyer named Scruple (David Pittu) and the aforementioned dowager (Suzanne Bertish).

There is not a weak link or a dropped syllable or a missed chance for a laugh among them.

===========================

At Classic Stage Company, 136 E.13th Street, New York. Through May 4.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines
Help us learn more about Philly.com commenters. Click here to take this quick survey.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments
Continue Reading