Monday, December 10, 2012

Plaza Theatre: Luv (2 reviews)

Plaza Theatre opened its production of Murray Schisgal's Luv on December 6, 2012.
A hysterical comedy by Murray Schisgal (author of Tootsie), Luv was a hit on Broadway and turned into an popular film. Harry Berlin is loveless and in despair while Milt Manville, Harry’s college roommate, is in love with a woman other than his wife Ellen. Milt hatches a plot to get Harry and Ellen to fall in love with each other so he can be released to marry his “soul mate,’ and everyone will live happily ever after. And so the comedy ensues.
Andy Rogow directed a cast that featured Avi Hoffman,  Patti Gardner, and Steven J. Carroll.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Back during the Cold War, a theatrical genre flourished called the American absurdist comedy. Perfected by Herb Gardner and Bruce Jay Friedman, it took hip unconventionality to an extreme degree of kookiness, one crucial millimeter short of being a living cartoon.  Perhaps the most popular entry was Murray Schisgal’s hilarious Luv...
...director Andy Rogow and his cast Avi Hoffman, Patti Gardner and Steven J. Carroll have done a   skilled job finding and recreating the right groove. Employing every shred of comic imagination they have and embracing the requisite manic daffiness with an unselfconscious abandon, this quartet does justice to this deceptively difficult and dated piece.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Luv plays like a strange amalgam of an early Neil Simon play, theater of the absurd and a Jules Feiffer cartoon come to life. Its rhythms would be familiar to a Catskills comedian, and because of that, director Andy Rogow is particularly lucky to have Avi Hoffman playing the part of manipulative Milt Manville. Creating any character requires memorization, rehearsal and performance choices, but taking on Mel is a comfortable fit for Hoffman, like putting on a made-to-order suit.
Rogow gives the actors lots of physical shtick, which Hoffman plays to the hilt as he’s decked out in designer Linda C. Shorrock’s ever-sillier costumes. Carroll’s main physical business involves running through Harry’s psychosomatic afflictions, but after the first few, they’re not all that funny. Gardner is a smart, sharp comedic foil for Hoffman, and with her black beatnik getup and beret, it’s she who brings the Feiffer vibe to Luv.
Luv plays at the Plaza Theatre through December 30, 2012.

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