“Fish in the Dark” & The Critics Love to Hate

The critics have spoken on Larry David’s Fish in the Dark.

The New York Times: …set postures, lines and deliveries, while throwaway humor has been exaggerated in ways that perversely shrink its impact.

The New Yorker: …sour-voiced schtick…a cynical manipulation of sentimentality and humor.DarkfishThe Wall Street Journal: (Larry David’s) playwriting debut, a poor and embarrassing excuse for the kind of Jewish humor that went out of fashion with Gertrude Berg, (is) bursting at the moldy seams with embalming fluid.

It’s not as if Larry David made any highfalutin’ claims. “I saw Nora Ephron’s play, Lucky Guy. I just thought, ‘That must be a really interesting thing to do.”54c16d2f10516d590a7b15ac_fish-in-the-dark-larry-david-broadway-vf02

The hate from New York’s papers is perhaps best summed up by the theater critic in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s BirdmanI’m gonna turn in the worst review anyone has ever read and I’m gonna close your play. Birdman-Michael-Keaton-Underwear-Times-Square-NYC-Film-Locations-43rd-Street-Times-Square-St.-James-Theatre-Hotel-Edison-Rum-House-3Would you like to know why? Because I hate you and everyone you represent. Entitled, selfish, spoiled children. Blissfully untrained, unversed and unprepared to even attempt real art. Handing each other awards for cartoons and pornography.

Luckily, the real-life critics aren’t having so much luck. Larry David’s play has broken box office records and been greeted by constant laughs and ovations every night. article-davidweb-0203Fish in the Dark, as Mr. David is not ashamed to say himself, is “pre-tty, pre-tty good.”

 

The Assembled Parties

We went on a brief theater rampage recently, seeing Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy, Lyle Kesler’s Orphans and Richard Greenberg’s The Assembled Parties. The Assembled PartiesSamuel J. Friedman TheatreWhile there is something to be said for witnessing the likes of Alec Baldwin (Orphans) and Tom Hanks (Lucky Guy) on stage, hanksthose plays paled in comparison to the staging of Greenberg’s work, a drama that delivers interesting characters, sharp dialogue and a sprawling, rotating New York apartment. The piece centers on those who play the stock market, reupholster chairs at exorbitant cost and attend law school to delay life decisions, people who judge and glibly self-reflect, and yet are endearing in some aspect. Screenshot (54)The play asks much, answers little and lacks a coherent beginning and end…indeed is much like modern-day life. Interestingly enough, the play had to be recently edited after the Boston Marathon bombing, due to a reference made to a Harvard student making a bomb for extra-credit, an image that certainly matches the tenor of the work and our times.