A CurtainUp Review
All Wear Bowlers
By Jenny Sandman <
Born from Ray Bradbury's short story, "The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair," all wear bowlers has been in development for three years, first playing to rave reviews at the 2003 Fringe Festival in Philadelphia. The show creates what performers Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle call "physical ventriloquism" What this means is that like true old vaudevillians, they can say volumes without speaking a word. Indeed, very few words are spoken over the eighty minute performance.
Much of the comedy is derived from slapstick, with the obligatory pratfalls and double takes, but it's also a very thought-provoking piece. Especially delightful are their interactions with the large film screen (and the film) and the human ventriloquism act later in the show. They produce unexpected objects, to the delight of each other and of the audience. The performers are periodically confused by eggs and even their body parts stretch and shrink and change surprisingly. all wear bowlers is obviously an exhaustively rehearsed labor of love by these masters of timing with their strong and intimate working dynamic.
Expect to be part of a boisterous audience. Vociferous laughter is encouraged. Also encouraged is beverage and food consumption in the theater itself, a welcome change from most theaters' policies (especially given HERE's inexpensive wine). While the antics are child-appropriate, some of the language is not, and smaller children wouldn't understand the larger existential overtones. Also, be sure to sit in the back row if you fear audience participation.
Since this is a small space be prepared for performances to be sold out but don't miss this joy. Filled with joy and mystery, it's the kind of piece that could never be reproduced on film or TV and that's in short supply these days. It's not an exaggeration to call Sobelle and Lyford enchanting performers.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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