The Understudy directed by Adam Immerwehr at McCarter Theatre is a theater farce by Theresa Rebeck about what goes on behind the scenes. A newly found piece by Franz Kafka has been put to stage, and Hollywood actors have been cast in the starring roles, and then there is the understudy.
The real irony is, Hollywood actor JD Taylor (The Good Wife) plays Jake. His character was still riding high after his latest movie, which was a blockbuster hit. Jake certainly had the confidence of a star, and felt more than qualified for his first attempt at live theater.
Harry, played by Adam Green who graced McCarter’s stage with strong performances as the lead character in the Figaro plays last season, was somewhat insecure. None-the-less, he was determined to convince Jake that he was indeed capable of being his understudy even though it’s questionable how he got the part.
Highly strung Roxanne (Danielle Skraastad) was the stage manager, who was having a bad day, had a history with one actor, and got caught up in some sort of triangle with the two. The set technician was also having a rough day, which stressed her out further.
Green, Taylor, and Skraastad (and unseen technician) together executed comedic delivery to perfection. In fact, it was laugh-out-loud funny most of the time. There was vulgar language used, so I wouldn’t recommend it for young children, but adults and teens will enjoy The Understudy. The set was simple, and the stage manager was wisely placed for a realistic setting.
Things could easily go wrong with only three actors in a play, but The Understudy is definitely worth seeing. This play runs 1 hour and 40 minutes and there is NO intermission. You can see it now through November 2nd.