Theater archives



Research in the field of gelotology, the physiological study of humor, has determined that laughter may indeed be the best medicine. A good guffaw reduces stress hormone levels, increases T-cell production, and provides an aerobic workout. Perhaps the ill should attend the frequently hilarious All Wear Bowlers. This winning combination of Beckettian anomie and Mack Sennett slapstick offers a rigorous course of treatment.

Physical comedians Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle have taken inspiration from the routines of Laurel and Hardy (though, as both are moderately proportioned, there is no fat one). In a nifty opening sequence, these two behatted tramps tumble out of a filmstrip and onto the stage, shocked by the sudden change in medium and the presence of an audience. As they struggle to reinsert themselves into the film, they flirt with comely audience members, execute uncontrollable dance sequences, and contend with the numberless hard-boiled eggs that emerge from every pocket and orifice.

Both are deft performers (Lyford in his placidity, Sobelle in his obstreperousness), though there’s sometimes a question of whether the pair wants to parody these stock comedy routines or simply do them. And certain moments seem sapped by too much rehearsal. But when they really cook—in a spirited ventriloquism bit, for example—there’s no egg on their faces.