By Steve MartinPicasso_Web

Directed by Josh Anderson

Produced b y Organic Theater Company

At the Greenhouse Theatre

Smart, funny absurdist play reflects on the nature of genius and creativity.

Famed comedian, actor, banjo player and playwright, Steve Martin’s 1993 PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, now in a spirited ensemble production by Organic Theater Company at the Greenhouse is a well-written clever absurdist work that is funny, sexy and thought provoking.


The Story: “This absurdest comedy places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe (the Lapin Agile) in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism. In his first comedy for the stage, popular actor and screenwriter Steve Martin plays fast and loose with fact, fame and fortune as these two geniuses muse on the century’s achievements, as well as other fanciful topics with infectious dizziness. Flourishes of humanity and hilarity exist in the bars other patrons, including a late arrival by a dark haired stranger from another time.”


While that is an apt summary of Martin’s witty play, it fails to account for what a fine ensemble work it actually is.  Picasso features an assortment of wacky characters led by the  intense yet profound genius scientists Albert Einstein (Joel Moses) and featuring the obnoxious sexy painter Pablo Picasso (Anthony Perrellia, Jr.).

This smart work has whimsey yet keen observations about the nature of genius and the creative process. The duality of life concepts that led to contradictions and opposites is explored through banter, exaggeration fueled by drink and companionship. The human ability to flourish with hordes of ideas is vividly examined as we spend 90 minutes with a interesting group of folks who struggle to express themselves while setting the tone for the new century in 1904 Paris.


Your time at Freddy’s (Bryan James Wakefield) cafe drinking with the old man Gaston (Sean Thomas0 who  is obsessed with sexy thoughts and a weak bladder or the other assortment of quirky characters that include admirers of the two celebrities, an art dealer and a visitor from the future wearing blue swede shoes. The exchanges are funny, thought provoking and sexy. The need to explain and justify our thought, dreams and desires evoke intense reactions.

You’d be hard pressed to find a finer ensemble. Joel Moses’ Einstein and Perrella’s Picasso lead the skilled cast. Martin’s masterwork proves that profound ‘idea’ plays can be funny and still deliver a wallop! See this gem.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: May 21, 2015

For more info checkout the PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE page at

At the Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL, call 773-404-7336, tickets $16-$20 in repertory with Tartuffe through May 28, 2015