|The NOT so “secret word” for The Pee-Wee Herman Show, playing for just 1 more week at the Club Nokia downtown Los Angeles is: FUN! (Cue to “Scream real loud!”)
Maybe it’s the stress of everyday life and the anguish of natural disasters and war in the world that leads me to believe that an hour and a half of giggles, cracked smiles and flat out guffaw’s, is priceless. Mix that with a little nostalgia from times when we were all younger and more fancy free, and you have the beginnings of a really good recipe…to a really FUN (Aaahhhhh!) show.
Paul Reubens has brought back his iconic and much loved Pee-Wee Herman character and playhouse to Los Angeles. He has been performing as this character for a long time, folks. “The Pee-Wee Herman Show” made its debut at the Groundlings theatre in 1981. From there, it traveled to different venues, made the leap to film, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” (Tim Burton’s feature film debut) and then to television. In 1986, “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” premiered and ran for 5 seasons, winning many Emmy Awards. This actor, playing this character, has stood the test of time (even with personal indiscretions) and is right here in your backyard. I highly suggest you don’t miss the FUN (Aaaaahhhh!) opportunity to be a part of it.
First of all, let it be said that the set may be just as amazing as Mr. Reubens himself. I should say Pee-Wee + set = a great team. I am normally not a proponent of giving the set a round of applause (as I have witnessed on rare occasion and am not fond of, no offense set designers) but if I could go back, I would give this AMAZING set a standing O! Kudos, scenic designer, David Korins! The lines between the set and characters are a bit blurred…as one of my favorite characters/set pieces is Chairry, the talking chair. Yes, all of your favorites are there, including: Pterri the pterodactyl, Conky the robot, Magic Screen, Randy, and lot’s more.
For those of you (living under a rock, I am just saying…) who are not familiar with the Pee-Wee cast of characters, are you catching my drift? This is a children’s show for adults. But, the humor isn’t particular raunchy or shocking. It’s more like, “if you love it, why don’t you marry it?” or “I know you are, but what am I?” sprinkled with a few adult themes (like talk of Pee-Wee’s abstinence ring, or referencing that 2 women can’t get married except in Massachusetts, Iowa… etc.). The official recommendation is for people 16 to 106. I agree. You could take your younger children with most innuendo sailing over their heads… but let’s face it. The tickets aren’t cheap. I say this is a good “date show” over a “pack-the-family-in-the-car show”.
The cast is comprised of more than just Pee-Wee, a talking chair and other crazy non-human characters. Many friends come by, that will surely excite Pee-Wee devotees: Miss Yvonne (original stage and TV show Lynne Marie Stewart), Mailman Mike (original stage, John Moody), Cowboy Curtis (Phil LaMarr) and Jambi the Genie (John Paragon, original stage production)… and many others. They are simply delightful.
There isn’t a weak link in this production. The acting, the script (Paul Reubens and Bill Steinkellner with additional material by John Paragon), the pace, and the direction (Alex Timbers) were all truly superb. Mr. Reubens is a tad older than when he first started performing as Pee-Wee… and I swear you won’t be able to tell.
Finally, for those of you who are concerned that you wouldn’t be a fan of the show because you never saw the Pee-Wee movies or the playhouse show, please do not be intimidated. This show would entertain even the Pee-Wee novice, as he is far more generous than I in explaining the “inside jokes” such as the “secret word of the day”. Early in the show (as was done in every episode of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse), Pee-Wee announces the “secret word of the day” and every time the word is spoken, the audience is supposed to “scream real loud!” I left you out of the loop during this review, but Pee-Wee does not. You can safely head to this show with every anticipation of enjoying yourself, even if your experience with Pee-Wee is limited. Funny is funny. I say this show is indeed, funny, goofy, entertaining, lighthearted, and FUN (Aaaahhhh!). If you find yourself in need of a little dose of that, don’t miss it!
The Pee-Wee Herman Show
800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown
1 week left! Through February 7, 2010.
2 shows Saturday and Sunday
Ticketmaster, discount ticket sites, possible rush tickets