Remy Bumppo Theatre’s “Humble Boy” is a linguistically witty black comedy of manners whose narrative owes as much to Shakespeare (for its skeletal structure) as it does to Stoppard and Ayckbourn (for its intellectual guts). Astrophysicist Felix Humble returns home to find his father dead and his mother on the brink of remarriage. The ghost of his father haunts him as he drifts into existential insecurity on the brink of suicide. Sound familiar? British playwright Charlotte Jones explores her characters’ emotional black holes via scientific arguments and a clever—if heavy-handed—metaphor involving the social order of bee colonies, but “Humble Boy” never comes close to touching the human depths of the great Danish play from which it draws inspiration. The play has much to say but little to impart and its charms are mostly intellectual and rarely emotional. Still, the cast—who must execute demanding performances of equal parts pathos and farce—must be commended for a uniformly good job, with particular praise for the sympathetic sang-froid of Deanna Dunagan’s Flora Humble. (F.O. Almeida)
This production is now closed.