Jack Quinn

Victor Gluck

Chip Deffaa

All in the Timing
By: Eugene Paul
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Liv Rooth and Carson Elrod in “Sure Thing”
from David Ives’ All in the Timing
(Photo credit: James Leynse)

Playwright David Ives’ intoxicating spritzer of a show is having a revival after twenty years and there’s plenty of bubbly to intake still, although a couple of the six short plays in the blend have gone flat because, of all things, it is truly all in the timing and they’ve aged out a little beyond best imbibing date. Ives has been given nothing but the best in direction (John Rando), acting (Carson Elrod, Jenn Harris, Liv Rooth, Matthew Saldivar, with Eric Clem for wild fill-ins), apt-est of costumes (Anita Yavich) so buckle up, buckle down and enjoy, even the flatties. Because Ives is a funny guy, including his cutting edge.

All in The Timing gets off to a whizzer of a start with “Sure Thing.” Delicious girl (Liv Rooth) waiting to be hit on. Kinetic Carson Elrod indefatigable hitter-onner. If one line doesn’t work, re-work it again and again until finally, boy and girl click. Froth, froth, froth but there’s lots of witty tang in the Ives concept and the juicy Rooth and Elrod performances squeeze to a fare thee well by director Rando the Magnificent.

Matthew Saldivar, Liv Rooth and Carson
Elrod in “Words, Words, Words” from
David Ives’ All in the Timing
(Photo credit: James Leynse)

Then, since we are all high on the opening starter, Rando makes delightful little gulps out of the scene change to the next play, as, indeed, he does throughout, it should only be emulated all over town, a consummation devoutly to be wished and shazam!, we are in ”Words, Words, Words.” Three chimps (Elrod, Rooth, Matthew Saldivar) all dressed up in costume designer Yavich’s wickedest chimpanzee finery, the three of them sitting each at a typewriter, typing like crazy when they know the humans are watching. Because a very wise scientific human chose to declare that should three chimps type away for eternity, sooner or later, one of them would write Hamlet. We are witnessing a grave test of that theorem. That is not all of what the chimps produce. The all is laughs.

Jenn Harris and Carson Elrod in
“The Universal Language” from
David Ives’ All in the Timing
(Photo credit: James Leynse)

Next, if I had to choose, my favorite. I confess. This shy, adorable girl looking for help with her stutter (the divine Jenn Harris) enters an empty classroom, to be confronted by an antick shambles of an instructor of language, (the now super-kinetic Elrod) who plunges her into the ineffable mysteries of Unamunde, the Looniversahl Language, and as her shyness peels away, so does her stutter. She is deliriously overjoyed, attributes the magical change to her instruction in Unamunde which she has almost, almost begun to speak and comprehend already, thanks to her teacher’s wonderful powers. Whereupon Elrod, the super-kinetic confesses he’s a fraud, he’s making it up as he goes along and cannot take her tuition moneys. She assures him she’s never been happier and they gaze blissfully into each other’s googly eyes. Ives and Rando and all have found heart in the midst of the witchery of words.

Liv Rooth, Matthew Saldivar, Eric Clem,
Carson Elrod and Jenn Harris in “Philip Glass
Buys a Loaf of Bread” from David Ives’s
All in the Timing
(Photo credit: James Leynse)

The second half of the show, also three short plays, “Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread,” “The Philadelphia,” and “Variations on the Death of Trotsky,” have a range of individual clevernesses, nutsiness and coolth but manage not to engage us as warmly as the first set of plays. We admire each piece, enjoy them as far as they tickle our separate fancies but I’d rather go home giggling over the warmly woozy words of the Looniversahl Language than find myself pondering Trotsky in variations of his demise with that absurd ax in his befuddled brain. Others, I could tell, felt otherwise. So, you enjoy a tasting of tasties and take your druthers and everybody’s happy. Yum. Burp. Aaah.

All in the Timing (extended through April 14, 2013)
59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, in Manhattan
Tickets: call 212-279-4200 or visit http://www.primarystages.org

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