Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews

The Pee-Wee Herman Show – Club Nokia – Los Angeles Theater Review  




picture - The Pee-Wee Herman ShowTheater Review 

by Harvey Perr 

published January 24, 2010 


The Pee-Wee Herman Show 

now playing in Los Angeles at Club Nokia 

through February 7 


For all the men and women out there who refuse to grow up, they have found, in Pee- Wee Herman, their own private Peter Pan. Certainly, from the vantage point of this reviewer’s seat, in the boondocks of Club Nokia, Pee-Wee hasn’t aged a day since last we saw him rummaging through his playhouse while being visited by his special friends.  There is something reassuring about that, make no mistake. There is also something spooky about it.


The Pee-Wee Herman Show still generates laughter; David Korins’s set re-captures to perfection the little house boys and girls of all ages still remember with fondness; one may miss Kap’n Karl or Hermit Hattie, but there’s a whole new generation of fans to whom such things will matter less and, besides, there’s still Miss Yvonne and Mailman Mike and Jambi the Genie and Chairy.  It is altogether possible that the time has come for Pee-Wee’s return and his new show will move on to an even bigger and brighter future, which would, after all, be the perfect finish for the sentimental journey we have all embarked upon.


And yet, beneath the highly shellacked fun and the raucous laughter which accommodates it, one hears the strains of the saddest music in the world. It has something to do with the fact that we didn’t allow that innovative artist – Paul Reubens – to move on from idiot savant to genuine genius, that we stopped him in his tracks at the moment when he was at the height of his talents and that we can only welcome him back not as he is but as we remember him. And, sadder still, what was once caviar is now popcorn.


harveyperr @


photo by Jeff Vespa


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