Mark Harris
November 24, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Comic Potential

type
Stage
Current Status
In Season
performer
Alan Ayckbourn
author
Alan Ayckbourn

We gave it a B-

In a futureworld in which ”actoids” have replaced flesh-and-blood actors in soap opera roles — they’re easier to control, they don’t talk back, and so on — an aspiring writer (Spin City‘s Alexander Chaplin) falls in love with a comely robot actress (Janie Dee) who begins to develop a human personality, so they run away together and — wait a minute, don’t we go to the theater precisely to get away from bad high-concept-’80s-comedy nonsense like this? Veteran British playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s fiftysomethingth work Comic Potential is unevenly paced and played at the frantic pitch of an old sitcom; in the end it’s unsustainably silly, but the expert, resourceful comic performance by Dee — who won an armload of acting prizes for the role in London — soars miles above the material. B-

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