The Sunshine Boys Starring...Who?

Categories: Theater

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As you may have heard, an unlikely cast is about to start a London theatrical run in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, the one about the aging vaudevillians who have an uneasy reunion full of fighting and shticking.

In the 1975 movie, it was Walter Matthau and George Burns as the feuding legends.

Well, in this version, the Matthau character is being played by pint-size Danny DeVito.

And the Burns guy is now the formidable Richard Griffiths from The History Boys and Harry Potter.

Um, er, OK.

When I think George Burns, I don't automatically think Richard Griffiths, but hey, maybe it's time for reinvention, especially with material this old and neglected.

Griffiths, it turns out, doesn't care for the movie version.

"It was unsatisfactory," he tells the Telegraph. "They took the play and fiddled with it."

He likes the performances, mind you, which is good--Burns happened to have won an Oscar for his career-high achievement in the role.

Let's see if this version brings new Sunshine or if it continues Neil's rocky revival streak.

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10 comments
London Spy
London Spy

Sorry but you have the casting the wrong way round..... Griffiths is the Matthau character and Danny deVito is in the George Burns role. Is this any more acceptable to you?

Mike Mcentee
Mike Mcentee

Went on the opening night. No applause for Griffith’s initial appearance (think most people know him only for Harry Potter) but a standing ovation at the end of the show for all. Very cosy and intimate theatre at the Savoy. DeVitos’ performance was what it was - just like watching any of his movies. The show didn’t blow my socks off and neither did Griffiths performance - he is much better than this. Not sure if he was acting tired and not bothered but after the show he sure seemed washed out. 3.5/5

pozzguy
pozzguy

Wow, I saw it on Broadway a 100 years ago.  Jack Gilford and Sam Levine had taken over the lead roles.  Maybe the play will be a hit again.  You can't beat Neil Simon!

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

Wha,wha, what??....Dinner Theater AND a Neil Simon play are making a comeback!???

mookindahouse
mookindahouse

I'm hearing that this MIGHT come to BWay if it does well on the West End.

exackerly
exackerly

Both terrific actors. Wish I could see it.

anonymouse
anonymouse

See Griffiths in the hilarious and quirky "Withnail and I" if you haven't. His lecherous Uncle Monty is unforgettable. 

Yaya
Yaya

I like Richard Griffiths but I'm not convinced that he's totally hilarious.

Stickler
Stickler

Can I get a "bad casting"?

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