I'M NOT RAPPAPORT
Twelfth Night (Stage - 2002)
It’s been 14 years since Judd Hirsch last played the 81-year-old Jewish rabble-rousing storyteller Nat (on the very same stage) in Herb Gardner’s funny, resonant, and perpetually revivable Tony Award-winning play about old men raging entertainingly on a park bench about the betrayals of old age. And time has only deepened 67-year-old Hirsch’s understanding of the condition. Ben Vereen, 55, believably ages a good two decades to play Midge, Nat’s adversarial, black, nearly blind benchmate. The dramatic support beams look a little shabby for wear — Central Park isn’t the muggers’ jungle it once was, and Great Neck doesn’t carry the same punchline power as an exemplar of suburban Siberia. But Daniel Sullivan’s direction and Tony Walton’s set design focus on the timeless and organic. And gulping down the Geritol properties of Gardner’s comedy elixir, Hirsch and Vereen have chops enough to find the meat as they chew the fat.