For a play born of frustration, this farcical whodunit is remarkably lacking in malice. Denied the rights to Woody Allen’s comedy Death, writers Dan Callahan, Brendan Connor, and Tom Dunn decided to stage the real thing. Set at a funeral home on the eve of Allen’s burial, the show is more of an elegy than a roast. Soon-Yi, Mia, and the dreary films he’s been churning out for a decade hardly receive a mention. Here the Allen oeuvre stops at Bullets Over Broadway, and Diane Keaton remains his one true love. The show takes aim instead at the celebrity culture that surrounds Woody. Its success is as uneven as Allen’s recent career. Peter Loureiro plays Christopher Walken as “a spirit in the material world,” while Michael Somerville’s Leonardo DiCaprio decides to renounce his celebrity status and visit “a place called Costco.” But the play gets sidetracked by its own mechanical plot, and many of the celebrity characterizations remain disappointingly one-note. There are smart laughs in this work, but—like its subject—they’re maddeningly inconsistent. For a great comedy about Allen, your best bet is still Annie Hall.

Most Popular