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LETTERS TO EDITOR
The Butter and Egg Man
The Atlantic Theater Company's post-Producers revival is still fun to watch and comes with the added timeliness of giving audiences a chance to recognize bits and pieces of Bialystock and Bloom in Joe Lehman and his sidekick Jack McClure. . Director David Pittu has succeeded in trimming the play to a fast-paced hour and forty minutes, with a brief pause between the first and second act instead of the double intermission of the original.
Act One sets up the situation of this theatrical version of the country mouse being bamboozled by the big city rat. Act two shows the Naif deeply involved in the sure-to-fail show with a has-been leading lady just before and after its first performance in the then major try-out city of Syracuse. By Act three he's primed to outsmart the wise guys -- and bamboozle a second butter and egg man into bankrolling his return to a happily-ever-after ending in his home town. (see our review of the Cocteau Butter and Egg Man for a more detailed synopsis).
Unlike his previous Kaufman revival for the Atlantic, Once In a Lifetime, Mr. Pitu has wisely focused on his directing, instead of distracting himself with an acting part. He has also kept things simple Anna Louizos's nicely detailed but very basic set has been enclosed to build on the hilarious pre-intermission finale when almost a dozen people crowd into a Syracuse hotel room after the first performance of Her Lesson.
Rosemarie DeWitt is likeable as Lehman's spirited secretary and the future Mrs. Jones but one can't help wishing Heather Goldenhersch, whose name still appears on the promotional cards for the show, had been able to play Jane. Her unique vivacity and quirkiness would have added much to this role. The assorted additional characters are well portrayed by the solid ensemble.
Bobby Frederick Tilley II's costumes are authentically 1925 and make their own witty statements -- especially Julie Halston's print outfits. The Butter and Egg Man may never rival The Producers or Kaufman's more mature collaborative plays, but it's l good clean fun neatly tied up with a wicked twist.
LINKS TO OTHER GEORGE S. KAUFMAN PLAYS REVIEWED AT CurtainUp
The Butter and Egg Man at the Cocteau
Beggar On Horseback
Once In a Lifetime
As Thousands Cheer
Merton of the Movies
The Royal Family
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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