Ken Ludwig’s The Gods of Comedy Opens at The Old Globe

The Old Globe production of Ken Ludwig’s The Gods of Comedy is a delightful romp, melding academic pursuits of lost Greek literature and amorous misadventures.

With a prelude on the island of Naxxos, we are introduced to the actors who will bounce through several delightful hours of slamming doors, time travel visits by mythic gods, a movie stare and college tenure.

Shay Vawn as Daphne and Jevon McFerrin as Ralph. Photo by Jim Cox.

Our main couple is played Shay Vawn as Daphne, the shy professor unlikely to push the edge of the envelope. Her equally initially nebbish foil is Jevon McFerrin as Ralph, who discovers a lost Euripedes play that will bring him and the college renown. McFerrin was recently seen in Hamilton on Broadway, and he brings a range of skills to the role. Naturally, Dean Trickett (Keira Naughton) wants to announce the discovery to that evening’s gathering of big money donors. Equally naturally the manuscript goes missing, kickstarting a series of misadventures. The titular gods of comedy are called from the heavens to help find the manuscript, which only brings more twists to the plot.

Brad Oscar as Dionysus, Jessie Cannizzaro as Thalia, and Shay Vawn as Daphne. Photo by Jim Cox.

Steffanie Leigh as Brooklyn and George Psomas as Ares. Photo by Jim Cox.

The timing is quite good and the actors acquit themselves well. Brad Oscar steals many scenes, playing Dionysus as one of the gods of comedy. His partner Thalia, assayed by Jessie Cannizzaro, is also spirited in her performance. Steffanie Leigh plays the movie star, interested in reinvigorating her career as the lead in the inevitable production of the lost manuscript. Leigh was recently the replacement in the title role of Mary Poppins on Broadway. Rounding out the cast in three roles is the nimble George Psomas, whose various accents are used with aplomb.

The direction by Amadan Dehnert is crisp, critical for a comedic farce. Jason Sherwood’s scenic design evokes well the academic atmosphere.

Playwright Ken Ludwig’s prior work includes Moon Over Buffalo, Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You, Baskerville, Robin Hood (the latter two of which appeared at The Old Globe). His latest production will provide many laughs as well.

Running through June 16, tickets available here.

Jessie Cannizzaro as Thalia, Jevon McFerrin as Ralph, Steffanie Leigh as Brooklyn, Brad Oscar as Dionysus, and Shay Vawn as Daphne in Ken Ludwig’s The Gods of Comedy, running May 11 – June 16, 2019 at The Old Globe. Photo by Jim Cox.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.