There is trouble in the Harrington house. The middle-class family wishes to keep up appearances by making themselves seem like higher pillars of society than they are. Daughters Grace and Patricia are at odds with one another. Grace, the favored child, has landed Billy Caldwell, a successful local man. Patricia is left with milquetoast Tony Anderson, Grace’s ex. The parents are….well….”extra.”
The entire Harrington clan—and everyone encounter—are played with flawless precision by David Greenspan in Transport Group’s production of The Patsy. The material is not new to Greenspan, who brought this solo triumph to midtown’s Duke theater in 2011. Now, he’s moved the action downtown to the Abrons Arts Center where he’s moving audiences to fits of laughter and amazement.
The family comedy premiered on Broadway nearly a century ago and was later turned into a successful silent film in 1928. For 80 minutes, Greenspan, clad only in a button-down shirt, V-neck sweater, and dress slacks, vividly brings to life the kooky period piece with vocal gymnastics that would make Simone Biles jealous. Dane Laffrey’s economical but effective set keeps all the action in one place, while Greenspan provides futher description of the Harrington’s home.
Greenspan, a veteran of the downtown underground scene, is a six-time Obie Award winner and after watching The Patsy, it’s not hard to understand why. In addition to natural ability, he has followed the meticulous direction of Jack Cummings III. Although it’s an overused term, there is no other descriptive than “tour de force” to paint what is happening here.
These antics won’t last forever , so one would be wise to grab tickets to this one-man family soon.
The Patsy runs through April 30th at the Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street, NYC). For tickets and information, click here