Two Nights Of Theater: One A Dazzling Comedy, One Cutting Edge
There’s an utterly delightful comedy playing at Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples.
It’s James Sherman’s riotous play, BEAU JEST. What a joy it was to laugh my head off and to witness a cast of genuine Equity Professionals tackle a play that they really seemed to glad to be part of. That came across. I urge you to save a night for this one. It runs until March 7th, at 8 p.m., with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.
BEAU JEST is contagious. You start laughing almost from the first line, and you just keep on, joining the audience in recognition of so much that is just so damn funny about families and love relationships. The plot is a winner. Sarah Goldman, beautifully played by Sarah Baskin, is from a conventional (but not cliched) Jewish family. Behind her parents’ backs, she’s dating a gentile Man. So she concocts the plan to hire a nice Jewish boy, an actor, tired of waiting on tables in between roles, to pretend to be Dr. David Steinberg, whom she will pass off as her new boyfriend, to please her parents. “Pleasing her parents” is almost another actor in this play. Sarah is desperate, hating her mother’s nagging. “For nine days I’ve been trying to call you and I’m convinced your dead in some gutter somewhere, all nine days.” She hopes a Doctor boyfriend will call the demon off.
Well, it gets complicated as you can imagine, but you could never imagine all the hilarious lines James Sherman his written into this totally satisfying comedy. You just have to be there to join in the thunderous applause when the final curtain comes down.
You don’t have to be Jewish to get all the laughter, but it sure helps. There is a marvelous scene where Sarah’s father, ably played by an old pro, Stephen Berger, rushes through the Passover Seder until Dr. Steinberg innocently bites into the horse radish his gentile tongue has never known.
We really come to like the people we meet on that stage. The direction by Kristin Coury was superb. She manages the cast like the impresario she is, with great subtle touches that make the play rock.
Zolan Henderson, who plays “Dr. Steinberg” artfully holds BEAU JEST together. Henderson has been seen in some the best productions Florida Repertory Theater has done, including ALL MY SONS, and THE RAINMAKER. He is helped exceptionally well by Lori Wilner who plays Sarah’s mother, and by Jay Leibowitz in the role of her older brother.
If you’re looking for a terrific night out, and you are ready to laugh almost to the point of rolling on the floor, then to marvel at the minds that can weave together such a vibrant and satisfying comedy, go see BEAU JEST. There’s just not a thing to not like in the whole sweet evening. My warmest congratulations to everyone connected with making BEAU JEST the smash hit it is.
The Gulfshore Playhouse is at The Norris Center, 755 8th Avenue South, Naples, easy walking distance from exciting 5th Avenue. The box office number is 1-866-811-4111. Or visit their website WWW.GULFSHOREPLAYHOUSE.ORG