The reviews are for ”The Sunshine Boys’ at the Guthrie Theater

A play that draws its inspiration from Vaudeville is finding some new life at the Guthrie Theater.

Penned by the beloved Neil Simon, The Sunshine Boys premiered on Broadway in 1972, which is also the year in which the main characters – the one-time famous duo “Lewis and Clark” – are coerced to reunite for a TV comedy special.

The show stars two theatrical veterans, Peter Michael Goetz and Raye Birk; critics say while the jokes may be old, they still get the laughs.

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Raye Birk (left) as Al Lewis and Peter Michael Goetz as Willie Clark in the Guthrie Theater’s production of ‘The Sunshine Boys’ by Neil Simon.

Photo by Michael Brosilow

From Ellen Burkhardt at Minnesota Monthly:

Although I’ll be the first to say the phrase “dream team” is cliché in most respects, it definitely applies to this acting duo. Birk’s quiet humor forms the foundation upon which Goetz’s showy, look-at-me antics thrive, and the men are able to read each other as if they’ve worked together every day of their 50-plus-year careers…

As a whole, every element of The Sunshine Boys is near perfect: the script is flawless, the casting is spot on, the set is beautiful. Give it time, and, like its lead actors, it will just keep getting better.

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Greta Oglesby (left) as Registered Nurse and Peter Michael Goetz as Willie Clark in the Guthrie Theater’s production of ‘The Sunshine Boys’ by Neil Simon.

Photo by Michael Brosilow

From Dominic P. Papatola at the Pioneer Press:

Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys” premiered on Broadway 40 years ago, and its vaudeville-flavored humor — telling the tale of two ancient, crotchety comedians thrust together for one last performance — is even older than that. But the durable script still has plenty of life in it and, supported by the solid scaffolding of a strong production at the Guthrie Theater, its laughter endures…Despite its gray whiskers and old joints, the play moves along pretty well.

The Sunshine Boys runs through September 2 at the Guthrie Theater. Have you seen it? Share your review in the comments section.

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Raye Birk (left) as Al Lewis and Peter Michael Goetz as Willie Clark in the Guthrie Theater’s production of ‘The Sunshine Boys’ by Neil Simon.

Photo by Michael Brosilow

From John Olive at HowWasTheShow.com:

Unfortunately, in my not-so-humble opinion, The Sunshine Boys is not a Simonian highpoint. It’s extremely repetitive (“Uncle Willie, open up, it’s Ben.” “Is that you, Ben?” – ad nauseum). The play is often static and predictable; I found myself wearing a get-on-with-it scowl. And, most serious, I found myself unconvinced by the hostility of the two leads; it seemed a diminishment of the characters.

But maybe I’m wrong, and in any event, who cares: The Sunshine Boys provides a grand playground for Birk and Goetz and you are unlikely to encounter better actors anywhere.

The Sunshine Boys runs through September 2 at the Guthrie Theater. Have you seen it? Share your review in the comments section.

  • Barry Wegener

    It’s easy to find fault with plays, with theaters, with life. But for those who enjoy a good comedy on stage, Neil Simon can’t be beat. And if you want a comedy with an aura of vaudeville, there’s nothing better than The Sunshine Boys. Add to that the tremendous staging and sets of the Guthrie, the solid acting and interacting of the veteran leads (as well as the strong supporting cast), and the atmosphere of the “new” Guthrie building and you have a delightful evening with lots of good memories enhanced by smiles, giggles, belly laughs and outright guffaws. Don’t miss it; it’s a real crowd pleaser.

    Meanwhile of the Guthrie’s McGuire Proscenium Stage, there’s another winner of a production, Roman Holiday. Together you have two wonderful productions for the novice theater attendee as well as the more experienced. Enjoy the summer, enjoy the theater, enjoy the plays.