Review On Neil Simon's Musical Fools


Eric A Gordon

Eric A Gordon

Registered Critic


A charming new musical closely based on prolific American playwright Neil Simon’s Fools has just enjoyed its world premiere here and is running through November 17. It’s not a terribly deep piece, and not the usual fodder for our serious, politically engaged readers, yet it is so boisterously silly and good-hearted, and suitable for all audiences, that it is truly worth seeing in times that need a little comic relief. Wasn’t it Lenin, after all, who said, “Irony and patience are the principal qualities of the revolutionary?”

The role of the fool is a well established literary type; there probably is no cultural tradition in the world that does not poke gentle fun at the more simple-minded among us. He shows up in the best places—Shakespeare, the operatic stage, countless Russian novels. Critics always like to point out how the fool, like a child, can say things to the face of authority that others cannot: On the surface their comments are illogical and meaningless, but underneath them resides a deeper lucidity about power and its abuses. I’ll pick up on this thread further down.

Eric A Gordon
Eric A. Gordon, writes for People's World (peoplesworld.org). He has written for dozens of local, national, and international publications, mostly about art, music, culture, religion and politics. His undergraduate degree is from Yale and his doctorate in history is from Tulane. He was director of the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring in Southern California from 1995 to 2010. Eric is the author of "Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein," and co-author of "Ballad of an American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson." A book he translated from Portuguese ("Waving to the Train and Other Stories," by Hadasa Cytrynowicz) appeared in 2013. In 2015 he executive produced "City of the Future," a CD of Soviet Yiddish music from the 1930s. He is the former Southern California Chapter Chair of the National Writers Union (Local 1981 UAW/AFL-CIO).