PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE by Steve Martin, directed by Randall Arney, with Jordan Pettle, Alon Nashman, Eric Peterson, Geoffrey Bowes, Blaine Bray, Michelle Fisk, Ron Kennell, Cara Pifko and William Webster. Presented by Canadian Stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front East). Runs to November 24, Monday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday 1:30 pm and Saturday 2 pm. $20-$69, limited Monday pwyc and same-day half-price rush. 416-368-3110. Rating: NNNN
relativity theory and slapstick humour. Random action in dating and physics. Algebraic equations and sexual passion. Steve Martin makes all these connections in Picasso At The Lapin Agile, comedy that's both intellectually sharp and hysterically funny.It brings together in a 1904 Paris bar Pablo Picasso (Jordan Pettle) and Albert Einstein (Alon Nashman), both in their unshakably cocky 20s and determined that they're defining the new century.
Martin throws in a bladder-challenged roué coming to terms with being over the hill (Eric Peterson), the sometimes slow but quite sweet bar owner and his worldly-wise wife (Geoffrey Bowes and Michelle Fisk) and a few others from this fast-paced world as well as a visitor from beyond it.
Randall Arney, who directs the tight production, understands that the onstage action and the working of viewers' minds should never slow.
While everyone skates elegantly along on the surface of the comedy and the witty writing, it's Pettle and Nashman who define the production with a clear-eyed sense of their characters' quirks as well as their self-importance.
But the show is almost stolen out from under them by Ron Kennell's Schmendiman, a fashion victim and entrepreneurial nerd out to prove that the 20th ctheatre reviews