nytheatre.com review by David Hilder
Exploring Dementia!, an evening
of sketch comedy, bills itself as "The show your mom was afraid of."
Claiming edge is not the same thing as having it, though; in fact, the
many over-40 members of the audience at the show’s opening seemed not
remotely offended, put off, or even mildly disquieted. The show is
completely mislabeled as a provocative examination of people on the
brink of lunacy. But it does have charms, as well as some definite
August 15, 2003
Will Matthews and Cassandra Smith, the writers and performers, have created eight comic scenes for themselves. They break no new ground—in fact, many of their targets (obsessive teens, malapropism-spouting office workers, and film noir detectives and dames among them) are so familiar as to be positively old-fashioned, not new-fangled. But they are charming actors, together and separately. Matthews is particularly strong as two very different teenage boys, while Smith scores best as a ferocious sports mom. And despite the lack of surprise or invention in their writing, their enthusiasm on stage is infectious. Paul Urcioli is to be credited for direction that enables Smith and Matthews to effect rapid transformations seamlessly.
Exploring Dementia! doesn’t really explore dementia at all. It does not provide a harsh look at modern life. It does not inspire shivers or examine life’s dark side in any depth. Instead, it offers a light-hearted, cheerful look at some familiar characters, executed smartly by two engaging young actors.