Friday, August 18, 2006

Critics Find Martin Short's Fame Only Somewhat Becoming

Critics Find Martin Short's Fame Only Somewhat Becoming

The latest pastiche of musical whimsy and "autobiographical" theatre opened last evening via Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. On the whole, critics appeared to enjoy some of the show, but sounded as though they'd seen most of it before.

Perhaps the best review comes from Variety's David Rooney, who writes, "If there's a slight feeling of insubstantiality since the show never really abandons jokiness to expose the man behind the performer centerstage, Short nonetheless delivers a good time."

Ben Brantley of The New York Times gives a guarded critique, saying, "...[I]nstead of being pure pleasure, it’s merely pleasant, rather like a decent summer-replacement comedy sketch series on television....Mr. Short twinkles beguilingly throughout the hit-and-miss farrago that is Fame Becomes Me. But, bless his heart, he has yet to find a show that lets him shine as he was meant to."

Less kind is the 2-star review from Clive Barnes of the New York Post: "You need something called material. That was shown -- or rather not shown -- abundantly last night at the Bernard J. Jacobs Theatre, where the show Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me seemed buried neck-deep in talent....Here -- through no one's fault but his own -- Short is very much short-changed."

New York's Daily News critic Joe Dziemianowicz seems to agree: "Short is built for funny. He and everyone work their butts off. One guy even flashes his. But a lot of the material feels far too familiar....Short calls it 'a party.' But before you RSVP, just know some of the refreshments are past their sell-by date."

Finally, The Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout provides what is surely the most savage review of all: "Make way for the first train wreck of the season. Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me is that most embarrassing of disasters, a toothless spoof of a tired subject."

Certainly, there's plenty of fodder for the tuner's marketing team to come up with decent quotes for their advertising campaign, and since Teachout's review was about the only flat-out pan, it's quite possible that New Yorkers and visitors merely seeking a summer laugh or two may decide this could be just the ticket.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Fame Becomes Martin Short Tonight on Broadway (August 18, 2006)

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