Fans of Larry David have certainly been enthusiastic about the comedian's Broadway debut. Advance ticket sales for "Fish in the Dark", the new play written by and starring David, topped $14 million. So, what do the critics have to say? NY1’s Roma Torre filed this review.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” has a lot of fans, me included; and that certainly explains the popularity of Larry David’s arrival on Broadway. I can safely report that “Fish In The Dark”, in which David is the writer and star, is an expanded version of the TV comedy. While it is about as funny of a show as you’re likely to see on Broadway, it doesn’t quite measure up to the impossibly high standard of the TV series.
Just as he does so nimbly in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” David’s play exploits human foibles – those silly, petty, mindless things that we think and do, like trying to find some real wood to knock on. In David’s world, everything is a setup for his characters’ self-centered behavior. With the stellar cast directed by Anna D. Shapiro, the payoffs are genuinely hysterical. The only problem is that it takes a little too long between them.
Still, the show works for another reason. David has a gift for arcing his story lines so that every plot point comes full circle; and when the show ends, it is entirely satisfying.
In a nutshell, the story concerns bickering relatives following a patriarch’s illness and death - a perfect setting for David’s Jewish-inflected shtick. As written and portrayed, they’ll probably remind you of crazy members of your own family.
He generously surrounds himself with masters of comic timing; Jayne Houdyshell, Lewis J. Stadlen, Rosie Perez, Rita Wilson, MaryLouise Burke and Ben Shenkman among them. Fans will be happy to note that David has the exact same whiny high-pitched persona from TV, hilariously kvetching all the way.
David’s humor seems best served on a 30 minute platter. Over two hours, this “Fish” can feel a bit thin. However, minor quibbles aside, there will be no curbing audience enthusiasm here. Larry David knows from comedy!