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Clutter: The true Story of the Collyer Brothers who never threw anything out

By Mark SaltzmanClutter by Saltzman

Directed by Wayne Mell

Produced by Madkap productions

At the Greenhouse Theatre. Chicago

Clutter is a superficial work that tries to be both a comedy and a mystery at once

What doomed Clutter for me was the contradictory style of the piece.  Clutter, at first, plays as a police procedural mystery then abruptly becomes a comedy featuring two eccentric brothers and several zany supporting characters.   The parallel stories about two sets of brothers didn’t work since the play’s hook is the wacky recluse Collyer brothers who live together and never threw anything away. But instead of focusing the show on them, playwright Mark Saltzman also featured the back story of the Dolan brothers, the cops who investigate the death of Homer Collyer. Why?

Clutter by Saltzman

I also had a problem with the over-the-top performance by Andrew J. Pond as Langley Collyer and Edward Kuffert as Homer Collyer. Each had a strange accents that sounded almost British?  We don’t get enough insight into the weird brothers since much of the focus is on the cop brothers. Add the silliness of many of the players and we have a comedy that wants to be a mystery that plays out as both. With several actors flubbing lines and the inconsistent tone, Clutter sure is a ‘cluttered’ affair.  Too bad director Wayne Mell couldn’t make up his mind on a consistent style. Clutter is a interesting idea for a play that fails due to poor direction and uneven acting. The script was superficial and cliche ridden. I’d skip this one.

Not Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: January 28, 2012

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