Last night I went to Club Nokia to see the return of Pee-wee Herman and his Playhouse, and the secret word was FUN! I mean that literally and figuratively. The secret word in the Playhouse was FUN and the big (not) secret of the show is that it is fun, fun, fun. I loved it.
Club Nokia is a big new "club" in the middle of a big new development across from the Staples Center that amounts to another big new Downtown-Disneyesque Orlando-y type Grove situation. It's all new and fake and feels like the end of the world but it's also simultaneously
nice and orderly. I dunno — it depressed me. I like old and real, like Pee-wee!
So the play is essentially an hour episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse featuring Chairy and Conky and the queeny genie and all the flowers and every talking thing you can remember from the show, plus the REAL Miss Yvonne, who by now is too old to be wearing the bouffants and
little strappy dresses, but she gets a big applause and you really are happy to see her. (And I think the Cowboy Curtis might be the original too.)
As for Paul Reubens, he's still completely got the Pee-wee thing going even after all he's been through and even at 58. (Could he really be 58??? That's what Wikipedia says.) The writing is still really funny and so is Pee-wee himself. He doesn't do his crazy laugh as much, and I'm assuming that's because it screws up his voice, but he's totally Pee-wee and I have to give him credit for getting in that suit and just committing to that genius part.
I was smiling ear to ear and would see this show again. And maybe again after that. I am sure I loved it enough for The New York Times to give it a bad review and revisit the brilliance of Rock of Ages one more time. OK, it's early and I need some caffeine. Big day of casting today and then back to NYC tonight.