Review: 'The Nerd' invites delightful entertainment

We've all heard of dinner parties like this.

The host is desperate to run things smoothly; there's a drunk who is increasingly snappy as the night wears on; an arrogant couple looks to make a quick appearance and leave; and, of course, there's the enthusiastically awkward nerd.

One chaotic evening welcomes a problematic new roommate in the comedic play ""The Nerd,"" now showing at the Top Hat Theatre until Nov. 16.

James Gooden plays Willum, an aging architect and landlord with an attraction to one of his tenants; Tansey, played by Danielle Shirar, is preparing to move to Washington D.C. and become a weather forecaster.

Willum's simple life in Indiana is shaken when the man who saved his life in Vietnam, Rick (played by Taylor Genovese) shows up at his birthday dinner. Rick arrives mistakenly wearing a Halloween costume, and things fall outrageously out of order from there.

Tansey is the host looking to smooth things over. Willum's other tenant, Axel (played by Drew Kallen) is the drunk full of biting one-liners. Bruce Bieszki plays Mr. Walgrave, Willum's arrogant boss, who brings his emotional wife and spoiled daughter to the dinner party. And then there's socially challenged Rick.

The humor is natural and honest, drawing out loud laughter from the small audience. The theater, in its fourth year of operation, provides a simple and intimate setting.

Genovese steals the show with physical humor that relies completely on the acting for effectiveness, like Jim Carrey in ""Ace Ventura."" It's easy to feel Willum's frustration.

""The Nerd"" is a wonderfully hysterical and entertaining take on socially awkward situations anyone can relate to.



""The Nerd""
Top Hat Theatre Club, 3110 E. Fort Lowell Rd.
Plays through Nov. 16


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