It is rare to see a good comedy – not exaggerated and not leaning towards a bad farce, entertaining on the one hand, and evoking reflection on the other. Seeing The Sunshine Boys by the KTO Theatre is a real pleasure, experienced on many levels. It is intelligent entertainment with common but true wisdom, a show where we meet excellent actors and celebrate their jubilee with them. It is also an opportunity to spend a pleasant evening in a cosy space, in direct contact with live theatre without the intermediary of a computer screen.
The nearly two-hour-long performance passes in a blink of an eye, mainly thanks to the great humour. The two men don’t spare each other exchanging biting remarks, and we watch them with flushed cheeks until we cry with laughter. The play is not devoid of reflections on passing. Clearly, it is a recipe for great fun.
In a joint production of the KTO Theatre and the Municipal Theatre in Leszno, Leszek Piskorz and Jacek Strama celebrate the 50th anniversary of their artistic work. It will be their first meeting on stage since their studies at the Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow.
As the director Paweł Szumiec points out, it only makes sense to work with this text when you have two seasoned actors with a great deal of experience, and they still got the bug.
For decades, Willy Clark (Leszek Piskorz) and Al Lewis (Jacek Strama) have entertained the audience with hilarious routines fuelled by their not-so-easy offstage relationships. Divided, they have not spoken to each other for years. When they get a chance to return to their beloved stage with their signature routine from years ago, they have to spend some time together again, despite their resentments.
The protagonists of the play are great actors in the autumn of their lives, still hungry for theatre, with vast and beautiful professional experience. They belong to an era that is passing away with them, replaced by new generations, trends, fashions and styles. I would like to save that expiring theatre world, at least for a moment. I have a great tenderness for theatre people, the oldest generation of theatre family, still full of energy and appetite for work. This text seems to be dedicated to them, says the director.
Neil Simon’s play, written at the height of his career, has seen a number of acclaimed film and theatre adaptations around the world, including John Erman’s 1996 film starring Peter Falk as Willy and Woody Allen as Al, and Thea Sharrock’s 2012 London adaptation starring Richard Griffiths as Al and Danny DeVito making his West End debut.
Willy Clark – Leszek Piskorz
Al Lewis – Jacek Strama
Ben Silverman – Paweł Kumięga
Sister Keks (Miss MacKintosh)/Registered nurse – Magdalena Woleńska
Eddie – Rafał Sadowski
(Director’s voice – recording)
Municipal Theatre in Leszno
February, 20 and 21, 2021
1 hour & 45 minutes