The Sunshine Boys
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The Sunshine Boys previewed 27 April 2012, opened 17 May 2012, closed on 28 July 2012 at the Savoy Theatre in London
A major revival of Neil Simon's classic comedy The Sunshine Boys starring Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths and directed by Thea Sharrock.
'Kings of Comedy', Willie Clark and Al Lewis AKA 'The Sunshine Boys' haven't spoken to each other in years. When CBS call for the vaudevillian greats to be re-united for a television special, past grudges resurface as they take centre stage once more. Ageing ailments aside can this legendary double-act overcome their differences for one last show?... Old rivalry and vintage hilarity abound in this classic comedy of showbiz and friendship by Neil Simon.
This production of The Sunshine Boys in London stars Danny DeVito as 'Willie Clark' and Richard Griffiths as 'Al Lewis' along with Rebecca Blackstone, Nick Blakeley, Peter Cadden, Johnnie Fiori, Adam Levy and William Maxwell. The production is directed by Thea Sharrock with designs by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Adrian Johnston and sound by Ian Dickinson.
Neil Simon's classic comedy The Sunshine Boys was originally staged on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre in December 1972, going on to run for 16 months. In London the production, starring Jimmy Jewel and Alfred Marks, run for just 10 weeks at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1975. The film version, starring Walter Matthau as 'Willie Clark' and George Burns as 'Al Lewis' was released in 1975, winning an Oscar for 'Best Actor in A Supporting Role for George Burns.
"America's Danny DeVito and Britain's Richard Griffiths join forces in this joyous revival of Neil Simon's 1972 comedy about a pair of superannuated vaudevillians. But what makes the play profoundly touching as well as funny is Simon's understanding of the obduracy, childishness and professional neglect that are often inseparable from old age... Thea Sharrock's production treats the play as a character study rather than a mechanical gag-fest and yields two glowing performances... The end result is a richly resonant comedy that reminds us that, while Simon may be pure, he is rarely simple." The Guardian
"It's hard to imagine a gentler, more congenial way to while away time in the theatre than watching The Sunshine Boys, Neil Simon's homage to the golden days of vaudeville. It does his cause no harm to have two actors - Richard Griffiths and Danny DeVito - in the lead roles who could wring comedy out of reading the telephone directory. Put them together with the dry Bronx wit and cool pacing of Simon's script and you have something equating to theatrical gold dust... DeVito hasn't acted on stage since 1972. In Thea Sharrock's effortless production, it doesn't show. From the moment the curtain opens on him half-asleep in front of his ancient television he dominates the theatre - undemonstratively, shambolically, as if doodling around his home in his own sweet time. I'm not so convinced by Griffiths's Noo Yoik accent, but who cares when he brings such layers of stubbornness and pathos to the bloody-minded relationship, which is like the most complex of marriages?" The Sunday Telegraph
"Danny DeVito is wonderful in this revival of Neil Simon's Seventies comedy. It's his West End debut, and he delivers something close to a masterclass: a commanding mix of energetic humour, cute timing and simmering resentment. Thanks to him this is certainly a hot ticket... [DeVito's Willie] is a performance full of zest, yet suggestive of an intriguingly flawed humanity. Richard Griffiths's interpretation of the comparatively relaxed Al is strong on well-observed mannerisms but lacks emotional weight... Thea Sharrock's production is funny and affectionate, but needs more snap. It doesn't help that Simon's characters appear miserable apart and every bit as wretched when together. Amid moments of sentimentality, the mood is oddly glum. And although the jokes come thick and fast, a lot are predictable or insipid." The London Evening Standard
The Sunshine Boys in London at the Savoy Theatre previewed from 27 April 2012, opens on 17 May 2012 and closes on 28 July 2012.