Oscar E Moore

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THE NAP – Don’t be snookered by a lot of malarkey

October 4th, 2018 by Oscar E Moore

I would love to report that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know heads or tails of the rules of SNOOKER – a game similar to billiards (pool) made famous by Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason in the outstanding 1961 film THE HUSTLER around which the shenanigans of the oddest group of characters have migrated out of the mind of playwright Richard Bean in this muddled and not very amusing two act comedy – where gag jokes land like cow pies – if and when you can understand what these Sheffield England residents are spouting.

Their accents are thicker than the walls of Fort Knox which make it quite difficult to explain the thin and twisted plot.  You get an idea of what is happening without the details.  And details are important in a comedy.

Mr. Bean had great success in 2012 with his breezy and freely adapted version of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters – ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS which featured an amazing James Corden who instantly became a huge star.  And rightfully so.

This time around we get an original story (not an adaptation) without the talents of James Corden to bring it to vivid life.  Instead we get:

Dylan Spokes (Ben Schnetzer) a rising star in the world of SNOOKER.  His Archie Bunker like ex-convict dad (John Ellison Conlee) his colorful manager (Max Gordon Moore – both in manner and dress) his weird mother Stella Spokes (Johanna Day) and her gambling cohort (Thomas Jay Ryan) and two investigators into the alleged future “fixing” of the competition (Bhavesh Patel) and Eleanor Lavery (Heather Lind – who isn’t quite the cop she appears to be).

Last but not least is the cherry on the top of this oddest cast of characters – Waxy Bush (Alexandra Billings) a majestic transgendered woman with one operable hand who happens to be a gangster and prone to easily understandable foul words.

Fast forward to the actual Act II competition (two rounds) between Dylan and the actual U.S. National Snooker Champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed where we get amplified comments that are amusing and understandable.  Where a large on stage screen zeroes in on all those red balls and where audience participation is encouraged to support the players – vocally!

Loosely directed by Dan Sullivan.  Sets by David Rockwell.  Act I as they set us up is quite a snooze.   Act II zany.  Don’t be snookered by all this malarkey.

A MTC production at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Through November 11th if all this silliness is your cup of tea.


Photos:  Joan Marcus

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