Review of A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing
By Robert Caisley
Directed by Craig A. Miller
For tickets & schedule:
6th Street Playhouse
Santa Rosa, CA
RUN: May 12-28, 2017
RATING: 3.5 of 5 stars
(May 12, 2017)
In the hands of the right director and actors, a mediocre play can become entertaining. Such is the case with the audaciously named A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing. While it does not live up to the promise, nevertheless, the play is a frothy confection of tawdry farce.
Producer Jerry Cobb wants to create a hit comedy on Broadway, and brings in a talented writer—what could go wrong? The writer arrives in a melancholic state, unable to work, the hotel turns into an unnatural array of weather zones, and what they thought would save the day makes the situation worse instead. As the tension builds, taking the bourbon with it, characters unravel under the stress, turning from classic tropes into crazed maniacs desperate for an out. While the first act has a slow build, the interaction between Cobb (Chris Schloemp) and his assistant Charlie Bascher (Benjamin Stowe) keeps the rhythm moving with their enthusiastic physicality.
A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing is filled with veteran actors, who manage to keep the energy level high, despite the lack of exceptional jokes and disconcerting portrayal of women. It is a period piece, set in the 1960s, which was a different culture, but despite Rose Roberts’ extraordinary performance as Nola Hart, it is difficult to see past the fact that she is portraying a sexual object without much in the way of intellectual caliber. The acting in this play is extraordinary, and Craig A. Miller’s creative, over-the-top directing style is vibrant and engaging, but the team was tasked with eking out humor from undistinguished lines.
Jesse Dreikosen’s set design is retro chic with an attention to detail that makes it feel like an actual hotel room, not a stage. From the teal and orange vinyl couch to maraschino cherries on the bar, it captures the splashy sophistication of the 1960s.
A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing is a lively, amusing evening, despite its flaws, with a strong cast and flair for the dramatic. If you enjoy slapstick farce and vintage style humor, this is the play for you.