Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Romancing the Caveman": ☼ ☼ baub

It wasn't only the Iraq war that started in 1991. That same year, Rob Becker's "Romancing the Caveman" opened in New York. The difference between Iraq and the Caveman is that the war stopped for a few years. "Romancing the Caveman" moved to Broadway in 1995 and played for two and a half years, becoming the longest running solo performance in Broadway history. By 2008, cavemen are as ubiquitous as Seinfeld. The show has been peformed in fifteen different languages in countries around the globe. Apparently, Becker tapped into something that men (although they are all a**holes) can understand.

The set is simple: a faux stone easy chair, a faux stone TV set and stand and a faux stone laundry basket. Performer Isaac Lamb walks to stage front and for the next hour and a half expostulates on how man is a hunter and loves to return to his cave to relax, while woman is a gatherer and loves to decorate her cave, in the process stripping the man of his dignity and forcing him to keep his dirty (presumably stone) underwear in the faux stone laundry basket.

It's funny. There are laughs. The first time you hear "men are all a**holes" you laugh and the second time too and maybe the third. But this whole shmear was probably funnier in 1991, before every bad comic in America began to mine the same gender vein. It's hard to argue with success, though. Women now have Vagina Monologues and men have Romancing the Caveman and, unlike Iraq, both men and women can leave the theater smiling and go home.

RATINGS ☼ ☼ baub

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Romancing the Caveman" two stars. Isaac Lamb seemed a bit frazzled on opening night but there were happy shouts of "Right on, Brother!" heard periodically throughout the theater, particularly in Act One. There are no particular BANGLES of Praise, but the ending dragged on forever and earns a Bauble of Despair. It's up to you to decide whether or not you wish to spend $55 to hear comedy that hasn't been new since Saddam had a black mustache.

"Romancing the Caveman"
Marines Memorial Theatre
609 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Wed.-Sun.; $55

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