The Sunshine Boys
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Kim Taylor

The success or failure of most Neil Simon plays is dependent on the skills of the theatre company putting on the performance, and Ross Valley Players’ production of The Sunshine Boys provides a very entertaining evening.

Like the Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys is about two very opposite guys who have a love/hate relationship. Al Lewis (Norman A. Hall) and Willie Clark (John Hutchinson) are an old vaudeville comedy team who, after 43 years, split up their act. Each blamed the other for the split. After 11 years of exile from each other, Clarks’ nephew, Ben Silverman (Mike Reynolds) attempts to bring the two together again for a special TV show honoring the vaudeville era.

Getting these two enemies together provides the dramatic action and the cutting style of comedy that keeps the audience laughing. Like most of Simon’s work, it’s a TV sitcom stretched into a two-hour play. But in the hands of good actors and a good director Simon’s flat characters round out to people the audience can identify with and care about. Hall and Hutchinson are excellent in the parts of these two old comic codgers and bring an endearing quality to their roles that go far beyond what Simon has written. Add to this some special touches by director Jonathan Luskin, a great set design by Ken Rowland and an excellent supporting cast and you have a fun night of entertainment in Marin County.

For tickets or more information call (415) 456-9555 or visit www.rossvalleyplayers.org.

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