Side-splitting humor, caveman style

  • 2005-10-12
  • 2 By TBT staff
RIGA - The American critics roared. So did the French. This can only mean one thing: "Defending the Caveman" ("Alu Cilveks") is a genuinely funny show.
Written by comedian Rob Becker, this Broadway stand-up on the fundamental differences between men and women has made international theater headlines.

"Caveman is a nationwide comic phenomenon!" glowed the New York Times.

"Hilarious Caveman is full of keen detail," raved the Miami Herald.

"While Becker is out to dispel the notion that all men are jerks, he does so in a way that is designed to promote understanding between the sexes. And judging from the uniformly uproarious response, his observations play equally well to both sides of the divide," reviewed the Toronto Star.

To be sure, the Latvian audience will agree.

Anyone who has spent more than five years in Riga will have noticed a growing sense of self-awareness between young men and women. This, of course, abides by all the current "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" trends out there today. And trendy is the latest fad in Riga.

An internationally-acclaimed comedy on the Neanderthal tendencies of men? Latvians will eat it up. Especially the women.

Yet "Alucilveks" is by no means a male-bashing fiasco. In fact, the show is quite egalitarian 's and that's where its genious lies.

"For ninety minutes, Becker proceeds, with compassion as well as humor, to outline the idea that there are real reasons for our differences, possibly even genetic reasons whose origins are buried in the millennia of human evolution," wrote Leslie Bennetts in Variety Magazine.

"Becker sends you out of the theater with a smile on your face. You feel less alone. Couples who were arguing before the performance stroll out into the night afterward holding hands," she continued.

Since its Broadway debut in 1995, Becker's stand-up comedy has toured the world, with an audience of more than 10 million people.

Although Riga's performance is an adaptation from the original, with a director like Juris Rijnieks and lead actor Ainars Ancevskis (Latvia's National Theater ) the show promises to have just as much character.

"Ancevskis is young, natural, talented, has phenomenal acting abilities and a perfect sense of humor, which are all essential qualities for this show," performance producer Arturs Mednis told Vakara Zinas newspaper.

With minimal set pieces 's a Flintstones-style rock television, stuffed chair and wicker basket 's Ancevskis' dynamic persona will take over the minute he steps on stage.

Becker's jokes have been tweaked to appeal to Latvian taste, but the underlying humor remains. The essence of the show, no matter what the language, is truly international.

"We're dealing with universal themes about relationships," Broadway actor Kevin Burke said after a New York performance. "As a matter of fact, I think Rob Becker was ahead of his time. Remember that he wrote 'Caveman' years before John Gray's book 'Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus' became so popular. I think cultural awareness is just catching up with this show." o

Alu Cilveks

Kino Riga

Oct. 22, 20:00

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