Comedian Steve Martin’s play "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" opens the Brown County Playhouse summer season in an often funny and occasionally thought provoking production directed by Murray McGibbon.
Although the artist Pablo Picasso has his name is in the title, the physicist Albert Einstein is equally prominent. Steve Martin imagines a meeting of these two giants of twentieth century in a Paris bar in 1904. Jose Antonio Garcia as Picasso was a powerhouse charmer full of creativity mixed with sensuality. Einstein played by Bill Simmons was a quieter more rounded character, but with plenty of amusing charm of his own.
Jonathan Molitor as the bar man of the Lapin Agile, Carmen Rae Meyers as his wife and Richard Burke as a regular all worked to create the warm and amusing environment of the play. The audience got a good laugh when Molitor and Meyers got into a heated argument over whether her romaticism was ‘post’ or ‘neo.’ Burke did a masterful job both as a physical comic and as the frequent anchor of verbal scenes.
Needless to say the crowd of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" was a pretty wild group. Sara Rebrovic was a Picasso groupie, enamored but far from uncritical. Coryell Barlow played a companion role as a countess infatuated with Einstein. David Cole got his share of attention as Picasso’s addled art dealer. Sam Wootten made his mark as a cartoonish chaser after fame.
With Picasso and Einstein balancing out the universe of the art and science in the company of this crowd, it seemed perfectly reasonable that Elvis Presley, played by Matt Harding, rolled onto the stage and both blended in and led the finale.
The set of the Lapin Agile by Mark Frederic Smith did a fine job of setting space and tone for the production. Dixon Reynolds costumes were an admirable part of the scene. This production inaugurates some substantial changes to the playhouse with a refurbished entry outside and new, more comfortable, seats inside.
Playwright Steve Martin has come a long way from the banjo playing comic with an arrow stuck through his head, but the sophisticated, slightly off center, wit with a bit of a sting to it are still here.
"Picasso at the Lapin Agile" plays Wednesdays thru Saturdays at eight and Sundays at two thru July sixth.