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NY1 Theater Review: "All In The Timing"

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Primary Stages offers up the 20th anniversary production of David Ives' "All in the Timing". NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

"All In The Timing" is brain candy for the theatre crowd. Actually, for anyone who enjoys quirky, clever, good-natured humor, it's a rare treat. Primary Stages' 20th anniversary revival of David Ives' mini classic is getting a first-rate production, and yes, the comic timing is sublime.

It's six one-acts, built on Ives' off-beat wit and wisdom. In the first, called "Sure Thing", a man tries to pick up a woman in a cafe. But every awkward moment is interrupted by a bell, followed by a correction. As the blunders mount, it becomes an eye-opening lesson on the power and nuance of the spoken word.

Playlet #2 is fittingly called "Words Words Words". Three research apes named Swift, Kafka and Milton are involved in an experiment seeking to prove that, given enough time, monkeys will eventually come up with Hamlet. Absurd but great fun.

The show's centerpiece, called "The Universal Language", is an insanely clever sketch featuring an invented language called Unamunda. It's made up of turns of phrases and proper names that sort of sound like their intended meaning. In Unamundan, "How are you" becomes "Harvard U".

"Philip Glass Buys a Loaf Of Bread" is an inspired riff on the avant-garde composer's fractured compositions.

"The Philadelphia" is probably the funniest, featuring people trapped in a metaphysical state of being named after cities. To be in a "Philadelphia" means no matter what you ask for, you can't get it. Wait 'til you hear what happens in a "Cleveland".

And the last, "Variations on the Death of Trotsky", is surreally bittersweet.

The actors are all terrific. Carson Elrod, given the toughest assignments, is especially virtuosic. But the entire ensemble, including Liv Rooth, Jenn Harris and Matthew Saldivar, are the theatrical equivalent of Swiss watches, streamlined, efficient and impeccably precise.

Directed by John Rando with profound simplicity, "All In The Timing" is timeless.

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