The Heir Apparent
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April 10, 2014
They say comedy is hard, but if the actors are sweating, maybe it’s just too hard. The new farce The Heir Apparent strains so much to be funny, it’s exhausting — if it were a jacket, it would burst its buttons. What’s surprising is that the author is David Ives, whose whip-smart lines, zany slapstick and surprising twists helped make 2011’s The School for Lies memorably hilarious, and even coursed through his darker-toned Broadway hit, Venus in Fur. As with School and 2010’s The Liar, Ives is working here from an ancient French play. This time around he put an obscure 1708 nugget by Jean-François Regnard through his usual wash-and-spin cycle — it’s doubtful the original included references to Cadillacs, Godzilla, soccer moms and colonics.READ THE REVIEW
April 9, 2014
When rusting classics need repolished lives,
Is anyone more fit than David Ives?
He loves to dip his quill where others daren’t,
Most newly in Regnard’s The Heir Apparent.
With rhyming verse, Ives kicks out all the jams,
Pentameter agleam with bright iambs,
And happily creates for all to see
A comic marvel at the C.S.C.
The 18th-century plot—already a
Tad familiar from commedia—
Concerns young lovers, lawyers and misers
And servants who serve as their advisers.
But here the stock is flavored to a T
With vibrant comic ingenuity.
April 10, 2014
Master wordsmith David Ives has struck gold so many times now (Venus in Fur, All in the Timing, New Jerusalem) with his dizzying, intellectual loop-de-loops. But The Heir Apparent, his new translation of a classic French farce playing at Classic Stage Company through May 4, merely strikes bronze. The madcap laffer has no shortage of jokes and gestures thrown at each of the four sides of Classic Stage’s playing area, but one wishes more of them actually stuck. Written in rhyming couplets (a tactic used to better effect with terrific ham-ster Hamish Linklater in Ives’ The School For Lies three years ago at CSC), Heir pits a trio of schemers (Carson Elrod, Claire Karpen, and Dave Quay) against decrepit, phlegm-hocking old Geronte (Paxton Whitehead) in a bid to claim the latter’s inheritance since he appears to be kicking the bucket any hour now. Or is he? As with any slapstick narrative, the machinations of the group soon draw even more plotters, including a ruthless dowager (Suzanne Bertish) and Geronte’s cunning bride-to-be (Amelia Pedlow). The only innocent is a dwarf-life lawyer (played deliciously, and on his knees, by David Pittu), whose inability to keep up with the scoundrels vying for Geronte’s coin proves an endurance test.READ THE REVIEW
April 9, 2014
"Well, I don’t care what anybody says, I am a one man Comedie Francaise!" Few would argue with Carson Elrold’s boastful pronouncement near the conclusion of Classic Stage Company’s rollicking production of The Heir Apparent, as playwright David Ives and director John Rando have the versatile clown racing through a stageful of roles as his character attempts to guide the future of an elderly miser’s fortune. Adapting Jean-François Regnard 1708 bob-bon, Ives’ comedy is written completely in nimbly penned rhyming couplets, but though the setting and style remain 18th Century France, the text frequently sneaks in modern references to national health care, 99 percenters, soccer moms and the like.READ THE REVIEW
April 9, 2014
“This place is fun! A wondrous mess! I wish my every day knew such excess!” Thus exults a sour (and very tiny) lawyer in "The Heir Apparent", David Ives’s adaptation of a little-known 18th-century French comedy by Jean-François Regnard that opened on Wednesday at the Classic Stage Company. Given that this fellow, played with simpering style by David Pittu, has been hoodwinked, humiliated, repeatedly mocked for his diminutive size and generally abused, his outburst may seem surprising. And yet we in the audience are likely to be smiling in giddy sympathy. This boisterous, bawdy and endlessly funny production, written entirely in rhymed verse and directed with meticulous abandon by John Rando, should put a spring in the step of even those of us beginning to dodder and wilt under the annual end-of-season theater blitz. It is indeed excessively good.READ THE REVIEW