Accent on Niles

Image by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Being currently in New York City (hello burglars!) and lodging wap bam boogie in the theatre district, the best girlfriend and I thought we do the local thing and go to the theatre. There were three shows that were really appealing: “Exit the King” by Ionesco and starring Susan Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush, “33 Variations” (suggested by my favourite director ever) and ‘Accent on Youth’ by Samson Raphaelson, starring David Hyde-Pierce. I won, meaning we went to see this 70 year old play that was almost (but not quite) as good as a good Lubitsch screwball comedy. Being the enormous Frasier fan that I am I obviously had to see David Hyde-Pierce live and fortunately the far more erudite best girlfriend ever agreed to forego the more intellectual pleasures of Ionesco and join me in watching this rather shakily reviewed piece.

It was certainly an interesting experience: the audience had an approximately average age of 75, which would explain the constant beep of badly tuned hearing aids and the constant ringing of mobile phones (even though there were three clear notifications by the management to turn the bloody things off).

The play itself was fine: a vapid little thing of a thirties comedy highlighting the difficulties of loving young women from the perspective of a man of a certain age, it induced some smiles from the girlfriend of me (although certain members of the audience guffawed at the slightest amusing aside) and Hyde-Pierce was certainly a delight to watch when he was allowed to indulge in his trademark physical comedy, all flapping extremities and raised eyebrows.

The 200 dollars the girlfriend and I payed for these two hours of folly would have financed a lot of West End plays in London, but it was nevertheless a delight to see Hyde-Pierce in full effect from the first row on a Broadway theatre, but the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre should do more to enforce their crowd’s adherence to the rules of annoyance-free enjoyment. For 200 bucks I would expect 2 hours without noisy hearing aids and annoying ring tones.

Nevertheless, as New York goes, you can spend this kind of money much quicker in a crap restaurant, so I would call the experience a success.

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