Friday, May 16, 2014

Under My Skin @ The Little Shubert Theater

When first hearing the name Under My Skin for a current Off-Broadway production, one may be left to their imagination to wonder about what exactly this new production is all about. Have no fear! If you enjoyed Disney’s 2003 film Freaky Friday, which starred Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, you’re in for a fun night at the theatre with a much different spin on this classic tale.

Under My Skin, a new play written by Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, takes a different spin on the classic tale of misunderstanding which leads to a physical switch in bodies with one character becoming the other and vice versa. In Under My Skin, we find ourselves at a health insurance company where the boss, Harrison Badish III, and part time worker, Melody Dent, find themselves switched after a near death experience. However, not longer after switching loves and seeing how the other half lives, they find themselves with very different perspectives of each other.

Broadway veteran Kerry Butler stars as Melody in the piece and really helps carry the production as a whole. Bulter not only delivers as herself but even more so as Badish when the two switch bodies. Her take on the male role in a relationship overall is one that had the audience laughing through most of the show. Matt Walton stars as Badish in the piece and manages to go from typical corporate boss to understanding co-worker by the end. He embraces his feminine side and manages to have the audience loving his take on the female gender.

The hilarious Dierdre Friel stars as Angel, who is quite literally an Angel, who sets up this situation from the very start. Friel is hilarious and consistently wins over the audience every time she steps onto the stage. From hilarious one-liners to jokes about life and the afterlife, she is hands down one of the best pieces of this entire production.

The other cast members weave their way in and out of the production taking on various roles in different situations and never repeating one once.  Special shout out to Andrew Polk who play the Dr. Hurtz among many other roles. He always appeared comically throughout the piece and really stole the multiple scenes he appeared in. Also, the beautiful Kate Loprest who starred as Victoria and others won the audience over many times. From the hilarious news reporter to Badish’s girlfriend, she had the audience wanting more from her each time she was on stage.

The show features some fun lighting, designed by Driscoll Otto, but overall the technical elements for Under My Skin are lackluster. The Little Shubert Theatre feels much too big for this intimate piece and it feels as though they have stretched out Stephen Dobay’s scenic design to fill the space.

All in all, Under My Skin is a good night at the theatre that is sure to be filled with laughs. While some jokes fall and occasionally the book is predictable, the show itself is fun and has a lot of talent on the stage. I would love to see this piece not only move a smaller space but a more centralized one so audiences can enjoy this delightful new comedy.

Review By: Chris Luner

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