Screwball Comedy

Critics

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88 %

Reviews: 12

Audience

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Reviews: 0

The title Screwball Comedy refers to an American genre of story-telling which had its heyday in the 1930s and 1940s. The elements included a male and female who may be adversarial at first, but are ultimately ideal for each other; some farcical or slapstick action; a female with the upper hand in the relationship; snappy patter and crackling dialogue. Norm Foster's Screwball Comedy is both an homage to and an example of the genre. Our story: The year is 1938, and newly laid-off perfumier, Mary Hayes is trying to break into the male dominated world of newspaper journalism. Editor-In-Chief Bosco Godfrey sets a competition between his egotistical star reporter Jeff Kincaid and plucky Mary assigning them to cover a society wedding. If Jeff writes the better story, he gets to keep his job. If Mary wins, she will replace the ace newshound. Super-rich lady Delores suspects that her son Chauncey's fiancée Gloria is a fortune hunter and wants the reporters to expose her. Chauncey is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, and Delores suspects he's being played for a patsy. Can Jeff or Mary dig up the dirt? Howard Storm directs.

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Reviews

Cynthia Citron
"Theatre 40 has a long-established record of presenting wonderful professional actors in enjoyable plays, and “Screwball Comedy” meets their high standards. Even if you are not a fan of slapstick comedy, you'll giggle your way through this one!"

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"Theatre 40 has a long-established record of presenting wonderful professional actors in enjoyable plays, and “Screwball Comedy” meets their high standards. Even if you are not a fan of slapstick comedy, you'll giggle your way through this one!"

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"As a veteran of the Borscht Belt and TV sitcoms, helmer Howard Storm brings his comedic chops to bear in directing his cast's crackling repartee and towards the play's ultimate Capra-esque conclusion. Overall, Screwball Comedy is an amusing diversion and throwback to those 1930s/1940s Hollywood dream factory flicks, when quips and class made audiences chuckle on the silver screen. Along with laughs galore, when they took their well-deserved bows the cast received a standing ovation the night I saw the play."

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


"Foster's time frame is smack in the Late Thirties and the production crackles with authenticity – the background music, the clothes (by Michèle Young) and, especially the dialogue with all the old-timey expressions, back when cool was chilled and gay meant happy. And, how refreshing not to be bombarded by four-letter words and sentences beginning with “I'm like…..”"

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot - Will Call - ...read full review


Frances Baum Nicholson
"Although Foster himself has created a play which honors all the above, with dialogue only slightly more ridiculous than the real thing, and just as deliciously improbable a plot, the current production does little with the rest. With a few exceptions the casting (or at very least character interpretation) is problematic, and the direction by Howard Storm profoundly uneven."

sour - Frances Baum Nicholson, Daily News - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"I've said it before but it bears repeating. No one does period pieces better than Theatre 40, and thanks to Beverly Hills' venerable membership company, L.A. audiences have gotten to discover Canada's comedy master Norm Foster to boot. Screwball Comedy is T40 and Foster at their screwball best."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


"Screwball comedy was a product of its time and is difficult to recreate in the current culture, but this delicious production definitely delivers the goods. - RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Howard Storm, who has directed a number of Theatre 40 shows of recent past, is back on helm to direct this work that is very comical and charming to boot."

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"Each actor is so very perfectly cast in his/her role, and the laughter hardly lets up throughout the entire play. - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Carol Segal - ...read full review


"Author Foster has done a bang-up job of replicating a 1930's/40's screwball comedy in the twenty-first century. Director Howard Storm has a good feel for the merry goings-on and obviously knows that timing is everything. Ridiculous situations keep popping up. Uproarious one-liners abound. The main characters have the slang down pat and speak with a delightful New York twang as they quickly put the other guy down. They all converse in a language foreign to real people. The female protagonist turns out to be a tough cookie. Slapstick alternates with verbal zingers. And a fun time is had by all. Get ready to laugh up a storm when you see SCREWBALL COMEDY."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


"Like the zany comedies with Gable vs. Colbert, or Hepburn vs. Tracy, this delightful play crackles with wit and humor!"

sweet - Morna Martell, Theatre Spoken Here - ...read full review


Rob Stevens
"Unfortunately Howard Storm's direction lacks the fast pacing required to make a screwball comedy run like a Swiss watch. Most of his cast takes too leisurely a time with their words and actions."

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"Theatre 40 has a long-established record of presenting wonderful professional actors in enjoyable plays, and “Screwball Comedy” meets their high standards. Even if you are not a fan of slapstick comedy, you'll giggle your way through this one!"

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"Theatre 40 has a long-established record of presenting wonderful professional actors in enjoyable plays, and “Screwball Comedy” meets their high standards. Even if you are not a fan of slapstick comedy, you'll giggle your way through this one!"

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"As a veteran of the Borscht Belt and TV sitcoms, helmer Howard Storm brings his comedic chops to bear in directing his cast's crackling repartee and towards the play's ultimate Capra-esque conclusion. Overall, Screwball Comedy is an amusing diversion and throwback to those 1930s/1940s Hollywood dream factory flicks, when quips and class made audiences chuckle on the silver screen. Along with laughs galore, when they took their well-deserved bows the cast received a standing ovation the night I saw the play."

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


"Foster's time frame is smack in the Late Thirties and the production crackles with authenticity – the background music, the clothes (by Michèle Young) and, especially the dialogue with all the old-timey expressions, back when cool was chilled and gay meant happy. And, how refreshing not to be bombarded by four-letter words and sentences beginning with “I'm like…..”"

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot - Will Call - ...read full review


Frances Baum Nicholson
"Although Foster himself has created a play which honors all the above, with dialogue only slightly more ridiculous than the real thing, and just as deliciously improbable a plot, the current production does little with the rest. With a few exceptions the casting (or at very least character interpretation) is problematic, and the direction by Howard Storm profoundly uneven."

sour - Frances Baum Nicholson, Daily News - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"I've said it before but it bears repeating. No one does period pieces better than Theatre 40, and thanks to Beverly Hills' venerable membership company, L.A. audiences have gotten to discover Canada's comedy master Norm Foster to boot. Screwball Comedy is T40 and Foster at their screwball best."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


"Screwball comedy was a product of its time and is difficult to recreate in the current culture, but this delicious production definitely delivers the goods. - RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Iris Mann - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Howard Storm, who has directed a number of Theatre 40 shows of recent past, is back on helm to direct this work that is very comical and charming to boot."

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"Each actor is so very perfectly cast in his/her role, and the laughter hardly lets up throughout the entire play. - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"

sweet - Carol Segal - ...read full review


"Author Foster has done a bang-up job of replicating a 1930's/40's screwball comedy in the twenty-first century. Director Howard Storm has a good feel for the merry goings-on and obviously knows that timing is everything. Ridiculous situations keep popping up. Uproarious one-liners abound. The main characters have the slang down pat and speak with a delightful New York twang as they quickly put the other guy down. They all converse in a language foreign to real people. The female protagonist turns out to be a tough cookie. Slapstick alternates with verbal zingers. And a fun time is had by all. Get ready to laugh up a storm when you see SCREWBALL COMEDY."

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


"Like the zany comedies with Gable vs. Colbert, or Hepburn vs. Tracy, this delightful play crackles with wit and humor!"

sweet - Morna Martell, Theatre Spoken Here - ...read full review


Rob Stevens
"Unfortunately Howard Storm's direction lacks the fast pacing required to make a screwball comedy run like a Swiss watch. Most of his cast takes too leisurely a time with their words and actions."

sweet-sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review