Theater: “Catch as Catch Can” at Playwrights Horizons
Yes, the midterm returns have been exciting but there’s plenty else to keep you engaged in New York. Starting with Playwrights Horizons’ superb revival of Mia Chung’s hilarious (and touching) “Catch as Catch Can”.
The setting is working-class Boston, as two families (one Italian-American, the other Irish-American) gather to welcome home a prodigal son. The various family members are played by just three actors (two of whom are Asian-American). As you might imagine, the cast moves across the stage at warp speed—switching between father and daughter, mother and son often within seconds. The gender-bending is fast and furious, and the first hour of the play is never less than LOL funny.
The concept for CACC originated from Chung’s interview with two male actors—one Italian-American, the other Irish-American. Both, it seemed, worshipped their mothers, prompting Chung's impulse: "I'm going to make them play their mothers." Those who grew up with surnames like Cosentino and O’Malley will get the jokes, the food references, and the mom jokes instantly.
And even if you didn’t grow up ethnically inclined, you’ll still enjoy the play. It’s not all laughs, and in fact, in the last half hour, things turns serious, as the families tackle a crisis they weren’t well-prepared for. Then again, what family doesn’t have that? So, yes, a definite yes. PS: The riff about whether Koreans are more similar to Irish or Italians is worth the whole show.