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The Patsy and Jonas

  • Theater, Comedy
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
David Greenberg in The Patsy
Photograph: Courtesy Carol RoseggThe Patsy

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Theater review by Helen Shaw 

If the clamor to revive the sweet 1925 Barry Conners romance The Patsy was never very loud, we must be glad that performer-adapter David Greenspan and director Jack Cummings III listen so much more intently to history than we do. Turning the play into a virtuosic solo spree, Greenspan whisks mischievously through the comedy, playing histrionic mother, viperish sister, heroine Patricia and the boy she loves. In the process, Greenspan transforms the work into a bouquet, and makes us, the audience, his surprised and grateful sweetheart.

Greenspan moves like origami that knows how to fold itself. He restricts himself to elegant, ritualistic gestures, and if you've seen his epic one-man show The Myopia, you'll know exactly how his wrist rotates to convey wafting smoke. That same spiraling decoration appears in the second part of this double bill, his own solo piece Jonas, a wormhole that twists down into the mind of a hyperactively intelligent performer. Sitting center stage, the actor remembers waiting to walk on as the butler in last season's revival of Kaufman and Ferber's 1927 comedy The Royal Family. In rich, repetitive poetry, he then unfurls the butler's imaginary history, contemplating the strange immortality of the constructed persona. Taken together, the pieces amount to a philosophy of theater's time-spanning interconnectivity. Patricia's favorite witticism rings through both: "All the world's a stage, but most of us are only stagehands." In Greenspan's orbit, we sense that this world-stage of ours has only ever had one drama playing, and that somehow his lively trickster mind has been there in every scene.

Duke on 42nd Street. By Barry Conners and David Greenspan. Dir. Jack Cummings III. With Greenspan. 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.

Written by
Helen Shaw


Event website:
The Patsy $39, Jonas $20, both $45
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