Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Review of "Accent on Youth"

David Hyde-Pierce is a marvelous comedic actor which he has shown to great ability in Spamalot, Curtains (winning the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical) and, of course, in the long-running television program, Frasier. However, in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of the Samson Raphaelson comedy, Accent on Youth, Hyde-Pierce, playing aging playwright Stephen Gaye, inspired by love on stage, but a failure off, is rather underwhelming. The fault is not in the actor himself or the supporting cast or even the fine direction by Daniel Sullivan, but with Raphaelson’s script. More a meditation on the subject of love, the show glides through its very short Act I and then lumbers through a more substantial Act II.

David Hyde-Pierce does have some very funny scenes and his presence is always welcome on a New York stage. However, this show belongs to Charles Kimbrough as the spunky, ever-pleasing, and aged butler, Flogdell. Kimbrough, better know for his television work in Murphy Brown, demonstrates a keen sense of comic timing and movement. He is such a joy to behold. Byron Jennings is splendid as actor Frank Galloway, an older thespian enjoying spectacular success in the new Stephen Gaye drama. The rest of the cast, while fine, did not bring anything special to the production.

Accent on Youth, a trifling affair, now at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel Friedman theater on West 47th Street.

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