‘Enter Laughing’ exits smiling

  • Tue May 11th, 2010 8:32pm

By Dale Burrows For The Enterprise

REVIEW

A girl-crazy kid growing up in New York City in 1938 wants to be an actor. Mom and Dad are pushing for him to be a druggist. His boss is grooming him to take over the business.

Carl Reiner’s memoirs are the basis of the coming-of-age comedy “Enter Laughing” by Joseph Stein. Reiner was a funny man. The material Stein writes from is funny. As for Red Curtain’s production of Stein’s script, funny depends on a couple of things.

Lots of us still get a kick out of Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick and Buster Keaton’s bungling. They had the latitude to break loose. Here, Stein allows director Davine Sholdez and actor-in-the-key-role Skyler Haines that same latitude.

The question is, do Sholdez and Haines make use of the latitude Stein writes in? Do the sight gags work? Joke deliveries punch? Does the slapstick score? The bungling resonate?

L. Sam Samano’s costumes and make-up give characters the right look. Scot B. Randall’s set designs present convincing interiors. John Klise II, Jennifer Michael and Asa Sholdez as the boss and parents make for an adult mind-set that would restrict a free-wheeling teen.

For sure, director Sholdez sees to it you are where you are supposed to be: Jewish quarter, New York City, 1938.

Also, besides coming across blind to the seedy, self-preening qualities of Michael G. McFadden and Chrissy Kayatta as a director and leading lady who figure in, Haines in character practically pants after his love interest and two cuties who catch his eye: characters Raquel Matlin, Michelle Slezak and Nicole Chamberlin.

Definitely, Haines has starstruck and girl crazy down pat.

The script is there. The sense and feel of things is there but a little inhibited. Some scene endings could shorten. Some gestures could vary a little more.

The real question is about getting outside yourself, winging it, showing off, breaking free.

I prefer more ham.

Reactions? Comments? E-mail Dale Burrows at entopinion@heraldnet.com or grayghost7@comcast.net.