Tung's Reviews > Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays by Steve Martin
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Jan 09, 08

bookshelves: drama
Read in January, 2005

Four plays, including Martin’s most famous one. Overall, he’s a terrible writer, simply amateurish. But because he’s so clever and funny, there’ll be one or two lines in each play that almost salvage the mess that is the rest of it. The grand fault of all of the plays is that Martin has no concept of subtlety, so he beats an obvious theme into the ground. WASP is a cliché condemnation of WASP families – but the play’s contrived surreality seems too out-of-place (aliens appear in a scene for no reason). The Zig-Zag Woman is clever but with no depth. Patter for the Floating Lady is my favorite of the four – very short, but the best-written of the bunch. I liked Picasso at the Lapin Agile overall, except for moments where Martin forces humor at the expense of the rest of the play (for instance, a moment where one of the characters anachronistically belts out “When a Man Loves a Woman” even though this play takes place in 1904), as if his standup comedy roots were at war with his artistic ambitions. And Martin’s inability to grasp subtlety makes the ending of Picasso completely overdone.
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