Many people think of Neil Simon as being the master of the mid life crisis comedy due to his huge success with The Odd Couple. But Come Blow Your Horn which launched Simon's career in 1961 is a play about youth and young love in New York.
The setting is the Big Apple in the 1960's. Life is booming and the city that never sleeps offers the fabulous Baker brothers a cool high life. Alan (Jamie Glover) is the older, more worldly wise, brother who knows how to 'play' women and fool his father. Buddy (Andrew Langtree) is younger, shyer and less streetwise. Both of them walk out of the family's waxed fruit business which leaves Papa Baker (Malcolm Rennie) incensed as they have turned into the "bums" that he has always despised.
Meanwhile Connie (Sarah-Louise Young), Alan's on-off girlfriend is falling in love with him and he cannot seem to resist her charms. This will please Mama Baker (Amanda Boxer) who is on standby to call the caterers!
This bright and breezy comedy is slick, sophisticated and stylishly executed. Jacob Murray's assured direction complements Simon's sparkling writing. Never dated, each line has a classic quality which never fails to amuse.
The actors acquit themselves superbly playing it for laughs and hitting the comedy bullseye each and every time. Langtree plays Buddy like a mixture of Woody Allen and Lee Evans with all the laughs. Boxer holds her own as the hypochondriac Mom as does Rennie playing her angry, disappointed husband. Glover is a great foil for his needy self obsessed family as he stares open mouthed as they ensnare his apartment.
Di Seymour's cosy bachelor pad style set suits the round perfectly, inviting the audience to witness life in the fast lane. Richard Owen's stunning high contrast lighting also evokes the 24/7 nature of New York City in the 1960's.
This fast paced production is a real treat that will leave you with a huge smile on your face. The audience on the night I went embraced the warm material and superbly synchronised comic moments. As the Sinatra song goes: "Nice 'n' Easy does it every time".
- Glenn Meads