Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Other Josh Cohen: Clever and Very Funny

Steven Rosen, Kate Wetherhead, David Rossmer
Opening at the SoHo playhouse, The Other Josh Cohen is a lightweight, but extremely fun musical.  It whizzes by at 80 minutes, with plenty of laughs per minute.  As the audience is being seated, a man begins to remove all the set dressing, a box at a time.  Interspersed with the audience discussions of where to have a drink after the show and what little Billy did yesterday at school, a few people start tocomment; is the set being dressed for a different show, is the lead character going to be moving in, what exactly is going on?
Turns out that set is an apartment and, the yet unseen, Josh Cohen, is being robbed. Narrator Josh walks through the aisle and explains what has just happened, just as a frumpier and much angrier Josh Cohen arrives on stage to find he was just burgled. Narrator Josh is a year older and wiser.  He explains to stage Josh that is the story of what happened “back then”.  Narrator Josh’s acceptance of the circumstances is, unsurprisingly, of little comfort to the recently robbed Josh.  The interplay between these two characters, separated by a year, is charmingly funny.  Imagine your future self coming back to a venerable point in your life to tell you everything will be fine - when everything is, thank you very much, definitely NOT fine.  Even more annoying for real time Josh, his future self has lost weight, cleaned up a little and is entirely too smug.
The story then unfolds in song and sketch.  Not long after the burglary, when Josh has nothing, a check arrives in the mail for $56,000.  It is from Ida Cohen, a relative from Florida.  Well, maybe a relative.  Our Josh tries to ascertain exactly which relative it is, and why Ida is sending him money.  After some interesting exposition on the Cohen family tree and suggestions from his family to just take the money, Josh finds out there is, indeed, a different and unrelated Josh Cohen at a similar address. 

Davis Rossmer & Steve Rosen as Josh Cohen (Ken Triwush on Guitar in rear)
This is a simple set up, played with enthusiasm and heart by Steven Rosen (real time Josh) and David Rossmer (Narrator Josh).  These two gentlemen make a great pair and yet are still believable as the same character separated by a year.  These two talented men also wrote the book, lyrics and music - so their ease in the characters is organic.
The Other Josh Cohen has a veteran supporting cast who excel in playing in the band, while still performing all the other characters.  Ken Triwush, Vadim Feichtner and Hannah Elless all move from being band members to characters and back seamlessly with a real sense of joy and fun.  Kate Wetherhead plays a myriad of secondary chacters, transitioning from an attractive young woman to Seth Cohen, Patriarch of a vast Cohen family, and everything in between.  Ms. Wehterhead makes all the characters work wonderfully.  In particular, her Ida Cohen, circa Boca, is flawless.
Directed with a light touch by Ted Sperling, The Other Josh Cohen snuck up on me.  It starts gently and builds in humor and pathos as the show progresses.  By the end, I kind of loved it, and left with a huge grin.  You can’t ask from much more than that.
The Other Josh Cohen
Book, Music & Lyrics: David Rossmer and Steve Rosen
Director: Ted Sperling
Cast: Hannah Elless, Vadim Feichtner, Steve Rosen, David Rossmer, Ken Triwush, Kate Wtherehead
SoHo Playhouse - Website

No comments:

Post a Comment