You can make a lot of arguments as to whether or not Larry David’s acerbic wit could play successfully on Broadway. Sure, being the mastermind behind Seinfeld (which I always disliked) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I do find funny) may work in short doses on television. But will people accept his brand of humor on Broadway? WHO CARES? The answer is “yes”. Certainly from the audience response and my own reaction.
Being that I always knew/remember David from his days on Fridays (especially “Matzoi!” – “live and be well…” – look it up), I think he’s funny. And a lot of what he does, as teeth-gnashing as his character can sometimes be on Curb…, I get it. The thing is, I went into this with no pre-conceived notion of what this play may be. The bottom line – it’s goddamned funny. Simple premise: neurotic Jewish family becomes even more unhinged when the patriarch dies – hilarity ensues. Now, whether or not you get the Jewish humor, it’s a universal theme. And this is one storyline where the schtick works.
Keep in mind, this is by no means “the Larry David show” – he’s got a fine, ample cast working with him and being equally up to the task. Rita Wilson is terrific as David’s wife – the perfect foil for his blueprint-perfect misanthrope; the always-wonderful Rosie Perez is hysterical as Fabiana, the housekeeper with the deep dark secrets and special praise has to go to Jake Cannavale, who stole the show (I think) as the hilariously hapless Diego, Fabiana’s son. A formidably talented group.
If you’re going to sit in a theatre, expecting to laugh and be entertained, this is it. And I should mention that at the performance I saw, two of the characters (David’s being one of them) broke from the script for a moment when an unexpected mishap occurred with a prop and had to be returned by an audience member – they lost it and started to laugh; it only added to the fun.
And that’s what Fish In The Dark is – just plain fun.