Review: The Man Who Came to Dinner

Peccadillo Theater Company revives the Kaufman & Hart comedy classic.

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  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    The Man Who Came to Dinner

    The Man Who Came to Dinner at Theatre at St. Clement's

  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    The Man Who Came to Dinner

    The Man Who Came to Dinner at Theatre at St. Clement's

  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    The Man Who Came to Dinner

    The Man Who Came to Dinner at Theatre at St. Clement's

  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    The Man Who Came to Dinner

    The Man Who Came to Dinner at Theatre at St. Clement's

Photograph: Carol Rosegg

The Man Who Came to Dinner

The Man Who Came to Dinner at Theatre at St. Clement's

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Sheridan Whiteside, the eponymous antihero of Kaufman and Hart's The Man Who Came to Dinner, is America's most famous snob. So just imagine his dismay when he slips on some ice and is stuck for the holidays, wheelchair-bound, in the home of an utterly square Ohio family. Soldiering on, Whiteside continues to run his one-man culture industry—including radio broadcasts, mummy cases, and several unruly penguins—out of their living room while treating the local rubes with deliciously undisguised contempt. (His famous entrance line: "I may vomit.")

While still utterly playable (and enjoyable in a classic film version) this 1939 comedy does rely on several period references that may not register with younger audiences. Yet the oldies-loving Peccadillo Theater Company gives it a good college try and scores at least a passing grade. Jim Brochu, who embodied Zero Mostel in last season's Zero Hour, certainly has the rotundity for the part, if not the booming voice and deadpan haughtiness of past Whitesides. (Too bad Alan Rickman is already engaged.) John Windsor-Cunningham and Cady Huffman shine as Broadway glitterati who descend upon the podunk town to aid Whiteside in his shenanigans. Unfortunately, Dan Wackerman's unevenly paced production starts slow and keeps lapsing into odd lulls. when spiraling anarchy is called for. Things pick up in the second act, though, once this well made play's comic engine automatically kicks into gear and Brochu finds his grumpy groove—with his snow-white mane and beard he makes the perfect Bad Santa for this utterly cynical Christmas carol.

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Theatre at St. Clement's. By Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Dir. Dan Wackerman. With Jim Brochu, Cady Huffman. 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. See complete event information

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