Zero Hour – Theater Review
Remembered for his definitive performances in Fiddler on the Roof, The Rhinoceros and “The Producers,” actor Zero Mostel was also a target of Senator McCarthy’s Hollywood blacklist of suspected communists. This solo tribute is a torrent of memory, humor, outrage and juicy backstage lore.
ZERO HOUR Is a one man show about the life of Zero Mostel written and starring Jim Brochu, directed by Piper Laurie, yes that Piper Laurie in two acts. It’s an hour and 45 minutes, and probably would have been served by some judicious cutting, but Zero Mostel was actually a fascinating man, who as you learn from the play is — really started out to be a painter, not an actor, and was actually black-listed during the McCarthy era. So his story is absolutely fascinating. I thought that the dramatic parts of this were much better than the humorous parts. I don’t know if Zero is just the father of all humor, so I’d heard all of his jokes before, or that this was just a play to use a lot of recycled humor, but the parts that I hadn’t heard before that were not funny I thought were much more effective than the parts that — the attempts at kind of Groucho Marxian humor. Get it, Groucho Marxian. But this is a show that’s gotten a lot of attention, and though Jim Brochu looks like Zero, the attempt to replicate him probably doesn’t serve him all that well and is more of a distraction than anything else. This is actually an interesting piece of theater. Three stars.