Advertisement
  1. Life & Culture
  2. /
  3. Arts
  4. /
  5. Stage

Steve Martin play gets a fitting encore at this Tampa theater

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” Martin’s comedic play from the 1990s, is currently running at Jobsite Theater.
Jobsite Theater's production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" runs through Oct. 9, 2022 in Tampa.
Jobsite Theater's production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" runs through Oct. 9, 2022 in Tampa. [ PRITCHARD PHOTOGRAPHY | Courtesy of Jobsite Theater ]
Published Sep. 22

TAMPA — How would the conversation go if Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein met at a Parisian café in 1904, both on the verge of revolutionizing the world?

In the mind of comedian and actor Steve Martin, it would have been absurdly funny.

That’s the premise of “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” Martin’s first comedy for the stage, written in the 1990s. Jobsite Theater produced it for the first time in 2009, and it remains the theater’s best-attended show to date. Director Kari Goetz returned to helm the show.

A solid cast, strong direction and witty book make “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” a thought-provoking, highly entertaining piece of art.

As with “Meteor Shower,” another Martin-penned comedy that Jobsite produced in 2019, the playwright’s voice is present in every character.

The laughs start right away when bar patron Gaston (Ned Averill-Snell) enters. He’s a regular there, protective of his favorite barstool, and has a frequent urination problem. Freddy (Brian Matthew Shea) is the seemingly simple owner of the café.

Enter Einstein, played by Blake Smallen, who captures the essence of a genius — sort of smug, but excited to discuss ideas. Germaine (Jada Canty) is Freddy’s girlfriend, a sultry woman who brims with confidence and intelligence of the ways of the world. In one scene, her predictions for the 20th century are especially funny.

Sydney Reddish delivers as Suzanne, a young woman who’s come to the bar looking for Picasso. (Reddish also portrays two other small parts.) When Picasso (Robert Spence Gabriel) finally arrives, he’s conceited, lecherous and rather obnoxious. His art dealer Sagot (Danny Mora) is even more pretentious, and his dialogue is laced with telling comments on the business of art.

From left, Sydney Reddish, Jada Canty, Ned Averill-Snell , Brian Matthew Shea and Blake Smallen in Jobsite Theater's production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile."
From left, Sydney Reddish, Jada Canty, Ned Averill-Snell , Brian Matthew Shea and Blake Smallen in Jobsite Theater's production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." [ PRITCHARD PHOTOGRAPHY | Courtesy of Jobsite Theater ]

The characters muse about art, science, fame, philosophy and time, among many topics. It’s refreshing to hear the exchange of ideas, and there are some nuggets that linger in the mind. All of this is delivered with Martin’s brand of wit and humor, which sometimes gets downright silly.

Jonelle M. Meyer delivers an amusing performance as the third “genius,” Charles Dabernow Schmendiman. He’s the inventor of an inflexible, very brittle building material who exclaims that “creation is easy!”

From left, Blake Smallen , Jonelle Meyer , and Robert Spence Gabriel in Jobsite Theater's production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." It runs through Oct. 9, 2022 in Tampa.
From left, Blake Smallen , Jonelle Meyer , and Robert Spence Gabriel in Jobsite Theater's production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." It runs through Oct. 9, 2022 in Tampa. [ PRITCHARD PHOTOGRAPHY | Courtesy of Jobsite Theater ]
Planning your weekend?

Planning your weekend?

Subscribe to our free Top 5 things to do newsletter

We’ll deliver ideas every Thursday for going out, staying home or spending time outdoors.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Late in the play, A Visitor (Donovan Whitney) travels from the future to join the action. He’s an Elvis Presley type, and his presence is confusing, but adds to the overall absurdity of the play.

Because of cast member illness, shows for the week of Sept. 22-25 had to be rescheduled. Ticket holders for those shows will be automatically moved to the corresponding day of the next week, Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Since many showtimes were sold out and because the show couldn’t be extended, additional showtimes were added to the rest of its run.

If you go

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Runs through Oct. 9. $39.50-$44.50. Shimberg Playhouse at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. 1010 N Macinness Place. 813-229-7827. jobsitetheater.org.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge