from Talkin' Broadway
Benchley Despite Himself
look at Nat Benchley and there is no denying his heritage.
Traces of his grandfather are evident in his face. Benchley's
grandfather was Robert Benchley, who made his mark as a
performer, writer and member of the infamous Algonquin Round
Benchley has delved into his grandfather's past in order
to create Benchley Despite Himself. The one-man show,
which is being presented by The American Century Theater,
is currently playing at Theater On The Run in Virginia.
The intimate space is a good fit for this enjoyable little
Despite Himself tries to be casual in its approach. The
set is comprised of worn furniture that includes a weathered
writing desk on which an old fashioned typewriter rests.
Photos of the elder Benchley are scattered throughout the
set, as well as two wonderful Hirschfeld drawings.
takes a conversational tone as he discusses his grandfather's
heartbreaks and successes. As he outlines the events of
Robert's life, he occasionally stops to re-create one of
his grandfather's pieces. Benchley also spends a great deal
of time focused on Robert's famous friends such as Dorothy
Parker, Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. It is at these
moments where the younger Benchley is the strongest.
is quite funny when acting out Robert's work.... Mr.
Benchley is a fine actor and carries the show quite well.
material is very funny and the direction by Nick Olcott
is subtle and quite nice. In the end, Benchley Despite
Himself is a rather endearing piece of theater. Benchley
Despite Himself runs through March 1st.