Come Blow Your Horn | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Come Blow Your Horn 

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Come Blow Your Horn, Eclipse Theatre Company, at Victory Gardens Theater. In a sense Neil Simon never escaped his origins writing comedy for radio and TV. All too often he flattens nicely rendered, multidimensional characters with an easy gag or predictable twist. This is especially true of his first Broadway hit, the 1961 Come Blow Your Horn, about two brothers trying to strike out on their own in NYC. An odd amalgam of comic cliches (the bimbo next door, the slick lover boy) and then-fresh ideas (swinging bachelors and bachelorettes, the open discussion of sex, the clash of generations), it's made all the stranger by Simon's sometimes clunky storytelling and the fact that much of his comedy is based on sexist attitudes: boys like sex, good girls don't, etc.

The Eclipse folks have done a pretty good job of re-creating the look and feel of the original play, though it's hard to believe anyone ever had an apartment as cool and as filled with pop art as the one that Christopher Jensen has designed. Happily, Steven Fedoruk's ensemble is not as loud as the set. In fact everyone plays the comedy fairly close to the vest, which means that the subtle jokes really fly and the more obvious bits aren't too excruciating. James Foster and Nathaniel Swift have great chemistry as the two brothers, and Cheri Chenoweth deserves a Jeff for not going over the top in the tiresome Jewish mother role.

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