A review for JACK GOES BOATING
JACK GOES BOATING
Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle
Conspicuously great directing, by Joy Carlin, and a superb cast, take this romantic comedy to comedic heights far beyond what the playwright, Bob Glaudini, could only have dreamed of.
While Glaudini's dramatis personae seem like "off the shelf" stock New Yorkers: standard New York City working class stereotypes speaking in a viscous Brooklynese patois, the acting is any but "off the shelf."
Award winning Gabriel Marin, as Clyde, performs a spectacular balancing act: he never actually strives to be a Brooklyn limo driver: his tact is to lampoon or parody a Brooklyn limo driver; the comedic result is leaps beyond what would have resulted otherwise: this too is supporting evidence of Carlin's directing genius.
MR Marin has his character nailed: he reaches the core of his character and comes back out to the audience in a hilarious tour de force.
The pauses, hesitations, facial contortions, tics, twitches, gestures, body English and Italian-American gesticulations, used unsparingly, unstintingly and unmercifully by MR Marin, are fine brush strokes adding buckets of detail and imbuing his character with unsentimental, riotous comedy.
MR Marin gets the audience into such a laughing jag, that he is funny even when he is not supposed to be funny; the audience found him risible even at the final curtain and the cast party that followed.
Danny Wolohan plays the title character: a loveable guy of immeasurable sincerity and very measurable academic and intellectual promise.
Jack falls very patiently in love with Connie (played by Beth Wilmurt); waiting like a addled sap to close escrow.
Jack, like many of us, clearly lacks a sense of proportion.
Jack belongs to a special Arab tradition of characters that traces back to the Mediterranean region of the 13th century.
Jack was Goha in North Africa, Jahan in Malta, Giufa in Sicily and Quixote in Spain: he is a loveable simpleton who lacks a sense of proportion but occasionally shows flashes of lucidity and genius.
For example: when Guifa learned that his wife was with child, he threw away all the knives of the house; when his wife asked where the knives had gone, Guifa told her that he had dispensed with them so that their child would not cut himself on one of them.
After inviting Connie over for dinner, Jack spends months with a professional assistant chef "the Cannole" learning to cook; when he offers Connie a row boat ride in Central Park, he spends months learning to swim in perchance the boat should capsize during their half hour at sea.
Jack's dawdling romance with Connie provides a clear vision of what Lennie's affair with Curley's Wife might have looked like had Lennie not granulated several of her cervical vertebrae and squeezed her hyoid bone up into her cranial cavity.
If you would like to witness spectacular comedy, not the canned laughter and skits that are cut and pasted together for tedious prime-time sitcoms, then this is rare opportunity; one has to wonder how long it will be before the formidable talent of MR Marin will be whisked off the stages of the bay area and transported to the world of high-definition mass media humdrum.
Warning: if you have recently undergone abdominal surgery or routine lipo-suction, you might want to wait before attending the show: your laughter could pop your rivets and sutures.
The show is a must for any purist who appreciates the art of real comedy or for anyone who just wants or needs to laugh long and hard.
This show in indisputably the funniest show in northern Calfornia; perhaps even west of the Pecos.
For tickets to this comedic masterpiece contact the Aurora Theatre at www.auroratheatre.org or flip open the cell and call 510-843-4822.