"THE SHOW-OFF" IS ACTING OUT IN WESTPORT


BONNIE GOLDBERG

If love is truly blind, then Amy Fisher should employ the services of a seeing eye dog. Her affection for her suitor Aubrey Piper defies reason. The family Fisher, sans Amy, sees Aubrey for what he is: a brash, narcissistic, self-centered, pompous and pretentious fellow. His greatest skill is his ability to lie, to himself and to the world.  While Amy swallows his fabrications as gospel truths, her mother Josie has no rose colored glasses in sight. She will tolerate none of his prevarications and she uses the sword of Zorro to slice him down to size.

To become intimately acquainted with the gentleman in question, with all his peculiarities and peccadilloes, waltz over to the Westport Country Playhouse until Saturday, June 29 for a peek at George Kelly's 1924 gift to American comedy "The Show-Off."

Will Rogers embodies the role of Aubrey Piper with a skillful gift of gab that is delightfully annoying to witness. His charms would be rejected by a snake oil salesman as too repugnant to be believed, but he has one faithful admirer in Clea Alsip's Amy.

On the other side of this fan club is the opposition headed by Amy's stalwart mother Josie, formidable in the hands of Jayne Houdyshell. With her are her daughter Clara, a sensible Mia Barron and her generous husband, a forgiving Robert Eli, Josie's husband, a hard working Adam Lefevre and her son Joe, an inventive Karl Baker Olson.

With his straw hat firmly anchored and a cane he twirls skillfully, Aubrey is a showman who adores the sound of his own impressive voice. As if his words were not enough to put you off his game, Aubrey creates a series of actions that defy believability, chalking up debits on his scorecard. Yet in the end, might not Aubrey get the last, best laugh? Nicholas Martin directs this three ring circus with a deft hand, on a detailed dining room set designed by Alexander Dodge.

For tickets ($30 and up), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport, off route 1, at 203-227-4177 or 888-927-7529 or online at www.westportplayhouse.org. Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Let Aubrey Piper ply his boastful banter with a thick paint brush stroke until the moment when his masterpiece of artwork is finally unveiled. Behold this Picasso at work.

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