Old Hats

  • Our critic's rating:
    March 1, 2013

    I am not a person who laughs a lot at the theatre. I’m a Yanky, first of all. Second, I am usually thinking about what is going on. It is rare that a fully fledged bark leaves my mouth – and I must tell you that outside the theatre my laugh can be heard for miles.

    Well, I was howling at this show. Irwin and Shiner take the simplest ideas and make magic. Necks stretch as if they were rubber. Flowers appear and disappear. Rabbits are pulled out of a hat. People are cut in half.

    And the old hats, that is another story all together. These hats twirl and swivel, they flip, they slide, they tumble, and they glisten and glow.

    Together Irwin and Shiner are the happiest and most skillful team treading the boards at the present. They are in sync with one another on a molecular level. As two old vaudevillians, as two politicians with smiles that make your face hurt, a pair of fat old men waiting on a train platform, an oily magician and his very attractive (nice legs Bill!!) assistant.

    Separately they are marvels as well. Shine’s Hobo has no one in his life until an angel shows up. Irwin’s Businessman is a victim of his phone and iPad.

    And the delicious gooey addition to this brilliant show is Nellie McKay who is perky as all get out and dumb like a fox. This petite blonde plays a mean piano, and is joined by four extremely talented musicians, as well as ukulele and delivers her music with a sweet deception that is absolute perfection. Her voice is sweet velvet and the melodies simple. It’s the lyrics that pack a devil of a punch.

    If you would sit
    Oh so close to me
    That would be nice
    Like it's supposed to be
    If you don't I'll slit your throat
    So won't you please be nice.

    And on a gentler side

    Yes I hope when dreaming
    There is only dreamland to do
    And when you awake I hope dreams will follow you.

    McKay does with her music what Irwin and Shine do with their clown work. This is a grand combination.

    What is better than leaving the theatre smiling and feeling like a million bucks? Not much, my friends. There should be a Nobel Prize for making people laugh. When you laugh you have to let go. You have to open up and let all the goodness in. When you laugh you are vulnerable and filled with joy. When you laugh you are at the mountaintop of being alive.

    Get on over to this show!!!

    "Ebullient new show."
    Charles Isherwood for New York Times

    "The mix of hocus-pocus, humor and heart makes it stand out."
    Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News

    "One of the funniest shows of the past few years."
    Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post

    "An uproarious comic revue."
    Erik Haagensen for Back Stage

    "Entirely enjoyable."
    Robert Feldberg for The Record

    "A light but thoroughly enjoyable comedy session ."
    Michael Sommers for Newsroom Jersey

    "A brilliant oddball of a show."
    Marilyn Stasio for Variety

    External links to full reviews from popular press...

    New York Times - New York Daily News - New York Post - Back Stage - The Record - Newsroom Jersey - Variety