“The Nerd” flops, barely ignites laughter

* 1/2

Comedy is among the most difficult genres to recreate and, therefore, should not be done unless executed adequately. The beautiful set design by Joseph Thomas is just not enough to compensate for the scalded acting that accentuates the jokes in Larry Shue’s “The Nerd,” now playing at the Stage Door Theatre in Wilton Manors (a sub-division of Fort Lauderdale), where barely any audience members broke a laugh.

The story stars Shane Tanner, who plays Willum Cubbert, an ex-Vietnam vet whose life is allegedly saved while in battle by a geeky friend named Rick Steadman, played by Jesse Teeters. The play is well written by Larry Shue, but falls to its death by the direction of Dan Kelley. The witticism seems to have been funny and clever at one time, but has lost his fervor on stage. It almost seems as if the actors are all in their own world, not really listening to each other, but instead hell-bent on making us laugh. Stagy blocking contributes to murdering this piece, as gag lines are delivered straight to the audience, who can already deduce the jokes.

On a positive note, the play does pick up speed and accomplishes to peak interest with certain scenes played by Teeters, or “The Nerd” himself. Teeters plays the typical nerd who moves into Willum’s apartment unexpectedly, and begins to wreak havoc upon the lives of Willum and his closest friends. The situation is hardly feasible though and the actors don’t seem to be having fun, which causes the audience to become bored as well. The ending has a twist that might have been exciting if one had invested their interest from the get-go, but this is far from the case here.

As one actor in this production states: “Rick-this is bad… real bad.” (The man sitting next to me said, “I agree.”) Those who would like to find out for themselves can see the piece until October 20. Call (954) 344-7765 for more information.

Joshua Caraballo can be reached at email4josh@aol.com