Not Like Other Bars: A Review of Picasso at the Lapin Agile

Brody Pierce

This last week, during the Midwest Honors Conference, I had the pleasure of going to see a fantastic play put on by the Harvey Hall Theater called “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” written by Steve Martin. The setting of the play takes place in the Lapin Agile, located in France during the beginning of the 20th century. The Lapin Agile is not like other bars or pubs for it houses the geniuses that will change the century to come. After watching the production of this, not only comedic, but also controversial play, I found myself in a state of awe and amazement at how well it was done. The acting was superb in the sense that everyone stayed in character and brought such vivid life to the characters overall. The old gentleman, Gaston, played by Jonah Brandt, and the visionary hostess, Germain, played by Lois Cassell, were two of my favorite characters in the play: Gaston, for his wittiness and vulgar humor of sex and booze and Germain, for her strong personality and pride as a woman. Her role played a vital part in the production. It brought in the subjects of women’s fame and creativity along with the roles of men and women during the century.

I absolutely loved the acting of this play. It was funny, energetic, smart, and full of surprises. I found it amusing how the play broke the fourth wall more than a couple of times. At one-point Freddy, the bar man played by Ira Hoffman, walked right off the stage to grab one of the pamphlets from the audience to check the cast order. It was unexpected and hilarious at just the right moment. I was able to get a brief interview with the two of the main characters, Albert Einstein, played by Will O’Brien, and Pablo Picasso, played by Derek Johnson. Both said that they were excited for the film and said that the cast was amazing to work with.

In the end, the play was a smashing success. There was a few production errors with the microphones and toward the end. The entire front section got smoked out by the fog machine. Other than that, the play was flawless and a pleasure to see