Theatre Review: "Humble Boy"

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, June 1, 2006

A domineering mother, and her pitiful, indecisive stuttering son. 

“B-b-b-blessed are the peacemakers” “For they shall irritate the hell out of you!”

That frosty, yet funny exchange sums up the quirky appeal of this play, which features snippy interpersonal relationships that have reduced most characters to the emotional equivalent of a Japanese bonsai. Consider the way the mother discusses her departed husband, who died while she was recovering from a nose job.

“I was upstairs resting, when he collapsed. Couldn’t hear I couldn’t hear. The bandages covered my ears. . . muffled the sound. But I knew. I was reading ‘Vogue,’ and it suddenly dropped from my hands. Just dropped to the floor. But there was nothing. . . He was dead in an instant. You know, his heart.” “Yes.”

If you’re getting vibrations that in addition to razor sharp comic dialog, this play’s also a wickedly clever sendup of “Hamlet,” you’re getting real, real warm. The script also contains hilarious allusions to science, everything from botany in the flower garden to advanced astrophysics. And this production also features outstanding acting by several local professionals, including Janis Stevens, who was just up for a Drama Desk award in New York. It’s a marvelous show, tickling your funnybone at multiple levels, and giving you plenty to think about afterward, too.