Let’s face it: No one’s going to rent Danny DeVito to play Lear. Or Willy Loman. And even George to Albee’s Martha. In the eyes of the world, DeVito is a clown, exquisite searching getting a Bozo nostril. If he stood onstage studying the obituary net page, of us would die laughing.
So it doesn’t if fact be told subject that playwright Theresa Rebeck’s “I Need That” — written for DeVito and his daughter, Lucy DeVito, and taking half in at the Roundabout Theatre Firm’s American Airways Theatre on Broadway — is that if fact be told a 90-minute sitcom episode, stout of sentimentality. TV is what DeVito does simplest, and he’s perfect at this. He’s straightforward, relaxed and sparking with grumpy mirth.
Directed by Maritz von Stuelpnagel, “I Need That” centers around a stubborn inclined hoarder threatened with eviction because his a protracted time value of memorabilia is spilling out onto the front backyard. And though there are moments of stress — as when the inclined man’s daughter (played charmingly by Lucy DeVito) and simplest friend (in a heartfelt efficiency by Ray Anthony Thomas) are haranguing him about cleansing up, or, later, admitting to him that they possess to movement on — DeVito spends many of the play up there in his bathrobe, hair all mussed, interacting with a sea of fun props: boardgames, a tv build with rabbit ears, inclined poker chips, a beat-up electrical guitar. Basically the most easy 2nd in the play is searching at DeVito, alone in the home, beat himself at the boardgame Sorry!
There’s an try, shut to the tip of the repeat, to add meaning and depth to the legend’s in some other case surface-stage feelings. At final we’re educated that the issues we’re related to from the past protect us from residing in the unusual, but the conception isn’t woven into the text or explored eventually of the play. It arrives formula too gradual, with the impact of a Hallmark card.
Peaceful, “I Need That” will point to lustrous for these having a seek for to be entertained by DeVito and his daughter. He brings exact joy and laughter, and there’s exact value in that.