Review: In The Balance

By John Nathan, November 20, 2008

New End Theatre, London NW3

What would happen if the outcome of the American election rested on the vote of one man who had forgotten to vote? And what would happen if that man was Larry Bloom (David Burt), a none-too-bright low-rent Jewish crooner from Florida?

According to co-writers John Steinberg and (director) Ray Kilby, who have set their fitfully entertaining comedy in the near future, a press pack would doorstep Bloom's home and the crucial vote would be cast on live television in his living-room. All of which I can quite well believe.

The dysfunctional Blooms make the Simpsons look like the Waltons. Larry and Helen (Belinda Sinclair) have a gay dentist son who got a girl pregnant, and a hoody daughter who runs a brothel from her laptop. I can believe that too.

But then this comedy just gets silly. The climax is based on the notion that having agreed to pay the Bloom's $250,000 for the exclusive rights to broadcast live Larry's vote, the TV network would leave it up to one hapless reporter and her cameraman to film the event. We are also asked to believe that the most important vote in the world would take place with no officials present.

I know - it is just a comedy and I should lighten up. But the adage, it's funny because it's true is, well, true. An unexplained power cut and an attack of cramp add to impression that Steinberg and Kilby ran out of ideas for their plot.

It is a shame because some of the ideas are good. In particular the moments when the Bloom confront the press outside their house, which we watch on live TV.

Get in an editor and a script doctor and this thing may yet fly.

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Last updated: 10:29am, November 20 2008



Fri, 11/21/2008 - 01:27

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Did this guy go to the same play as me?

First, lighten up, you are right it is a comedy and I might add, very funny.Two The unexplained powercut is fully explained in the first act by the TV anchor girl. Three, the journalst breaks in and won't let anybody else in. OK its a bit stupid to think that the family would do the crewing of the TV show. But it's a fringe show and they couldn't have a cast of thousands. It was full of plot, maybe a bit too much plot and the gay son was maybe a bit, well obvious. But I think this chap went to a different show.

I loved it's silliness. What night did he go on? Did thet cast forget their lines?