“Defending The Caveman” Opens The New Playhouse @ Westport Plaza

cave-pubStages St. Louis has remodeled and reopened the Playhouse at Westport Plaza with their initial offering, “Defending The Caveman.” This was an easy choice because Kevin Burke has been doing his homage to the battle of the sexes since 2003 and the Rob Becker show has changed over the years but still focuses on a non-sexist, friendly look at what makes men and women different.

In two short acts, our host delves into the whole “hunter vs. gatherer” aspects of the two sexes. Not mean spirited or favoring one side over the other, Mr. Burke just examines what he has observed over the years to be why men and women may love each other, but why they quite often don’t understand each other. Everything from controlling the remote control to shopping versus NOT shopping to why women chatter constantly when they get together and why men communicate through grunts, one word answers or just sharing watching a ball game together without saying a word at all.

cave-westThe key to “Defending The Caveman” is opening up the audience and letting them share groans and comments to the easy going Mr. Burke. He ad libs a lot depending, I’m sure, on what kind of people are in the audience. On opening press night, he had a lively one. They had no trouble shouting out answers to his rhetorical questions or even when he didn’t really ask one. It’s a lot different show than I had expected because, after all the years this production has come to our town, this was the first time I had a chance to see it. I was impressed with how comfortable he is with the role and how personable he is during his lively exchanges with an audience eager to have fun.

Of course, having played the role for all those years, he’s updated and changed things around a bit. He now has a child and, with the video screen mounted on stage right, he is able to refer to it throughout including pictures of his daughter and wife as the play goes along. A lot like the famous War Between Men And Women that James Thurber had so much fun with many decades ago, “Defending The Caveman” takes a healthy, humorous and noble jab at this ever present “war” between the sexes.

cave-spear“Defending The Caveman” is a charming piece of theatre and a very appropriate opening to what we hope will be a successful revival of the Playhouse at Westport Plaza. I do hope they decide to do some substantial legitimate small cast plays and musicals as well as the lighter fare they have planned for the first season of shows but it’s off to a good start. “Defending The Caveman” plays at the Playhouse at Westport Plaza through October 23rd. Visit them online at http://www.playhouseatwestport.com for tickets or more information.

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