By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Strictly speaking, Krevolin's send-up isn't a stealth King Lear, because, for one thing, its central character proclaims throughout the play his affection for this particular tragedy and loudly insists he will not end up like the Shakespearean monarch. And for another thing, a big portrait of King Lear frowns down upon Levine in his office. Finally, there is the small matter of this being a two-character play, with Bari Hochwald ably impersonating the three daughters. Without a Fool and any duplication of King Lear's Gloucester subplot, you ain't got much of a parallel.
Then again, with an oversize personality like Shore, perhaps there isn't much room onstage for other characters. Let's face it, the show is mostly a vehicle for this veteran warm-up act and Comedy Store co-founder, and the candy-wrapper crinklers in the audience respond warmly to his take-my-wife humor and recurring toupee sight gags. I wish I could report that Krevolin has come up with a witty grafting of Shakespeare onto modern-day Jewish sensibilities, but he hasn't and, under Joe Bologna's laissez-faire direction, Shore refuses to adjust his burlesque demeanor to anything resembling pauses or introspection, nor does he show an appreciation of Shakespeare as anything but an excuse to kvetch. This is a shame, because we know Shore is capable of articulating deeper stirrings, as evidenced by his soulful one-man play, The Warm-Up.
Still, there remains something unquestionably touching about the way he careens about the stage, jabbing his bony finger in the face of a millennial America that makes no sense to him. At times the show approaches so-bad-it's-good, as Shore stands and delivers lines like "When you get older, life becomes repairs" and "Your mother never did anything with her mouth except belittle me." During other moments, the evening becomes a living museum of a vanishing humor, a Yiddish-punctuated show that could please audiences that wouldn't know the difference between naches and nachos. We leave with the feeling that if Krevolin and Shore had taken on Sophocles instead of Shakespeare, the night would have been called Oedipus at Grossinger's: "Now, we've seen one or two Greek tragedies in our time -- and some of 'em have been onstage!" Hi-ohhh!
OEDIPUS THE KING | By SOPHOCLES | At A Noise
Within | 234 S. Brand Ave., Glendale | Through May 8
KING LEVINE | By RICHARD KREVOLIN | At the Odyssey Theater
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. | Through April 4
The 20th annual L.A. WeeklyTheater Awards, with Charlotte Rae, Chris Wells, Circle X Theater Company, Karen Finley, the cast of Naked Boys Singing!, Pasadena Shakespeare Company and others, will be held at the Los Angeles Theater Center, 514 S. Spring St., downtown, on Monday, April 19, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.); reception to follow. The posting of nominees can be found online at www.laweekly.com. Admission for all nominees plus one guest is free; for all others, $12. All queries and RSVPs can be made on the Awards hot line: (323) 993-3693. Please make checks payable to L.A. Weekly c/o Lisa Yu, 6715 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028. Checks must be received by April 4.