Comedy apparently doesn’t come in threes. The triple-threat writing team behind Broadway’s Relatively Speaking — Woody Allen, Ethan Coen, and Elaine May — failed to impress this week, earning only a C+ from EW senior writer Clark Collis. Luckily, our reviewers saw three other higher-ranking Off-Broadway plays. Read the highlights below.
Relatively Speaking: “This trio of comedies,” writes Collis, “is, comparatively speaking, far from any of its creators’ finest work.” Of the three C+ vignettes that make up Speaking, Collis likes May’s the best, as only she “seems to have really put her heart and soul into her one-act.” “[Speaking] most resembles the output of some supergroup whose members have decided to save their A game for solo projects.”
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: “I think even Steve Jobs would have appreciated the quirk of chronology that has allowed Mike Daisey’s Apple-themed monologue to open in New York mere weeks after his death,” says writer Keith Staskiewicz about the B+ analysis of Apple’s co-creator that’s now playing off-Broadway. “What was previously a critical examination of a man and his company morphs into a statement on his legacy, an extended, often disapproving eulogy encompassing both Jobs’ visionary achievements and his significant flaws.
Freud’s Last Session: Playwright Mark St. Germain’s imagined meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis earns a B+ from critic Melissa Rose Bernardo, who calls the Off-Broadway production “spirited, witty, and eminently engaging, no matter your extracurricular interests.”
Sons of the Prophet: I give Stephen Karam’s Off-Broadway tragicomedy about a Lebanese-American gay man who’s weathered several personal horrors a B+, writing that “Karam — who is Lebanese American, Pennsylvanian, and gay himself — explores this right of passage with good intent … The problem is that Sons is also about too many other things: from insurance-company red tape and the publishing industry to foster care.”