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Theatre Review—‘Quack’- A Thoroughly Intelligent, Funny Play At Kirk Douglas Theatre

Dan Bucatinsky and Jessalyn Gilsig in the world premiere of “Quack.” Photo by Craig Schwartz
Dan Bucatinsky and Nicholas D’Agosto in “Quack.” Photo by Craig Schwartz

Posted Friday, November 2, 2018 - 8:01 pm

By Jerry Cutler

The fact that the very name of the show Quack can describe so many people I know, I attended its opening at the very beautiful Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

Written by Eliza Clark, the script is intelligent, funny and acted to perfection by a group of terrific actors whose timing and delivery of their lines borders on perfection.

Doctor Irving Baer (Dan Bucatinsky) is a celebrity physician who has no problem dispensing drugs or decisions regarding the health of women and children that have no validity. In fact, two children have died due to Irving’s advice of not having children vaccinated. But, he certainly has no problem with notoriety and immense wealth.

His assistant Kelly (Jackie Chung), is always around to bolster his spirits and agree with his unsubstantiated conclusions.

Irving’s wife, Meredith (Jassalyn Gilsig) a diet guru, brings the play to a hysterically funny level with a flurry of four-letter words describing the way she has been written about in the same article denouncing her husband’s ill-fated decision. Meredith’s objection to the slight mention of her unsavory practice and her possible downfall is pure hysteria. It envelops the entire stage making it difficult for Quack to reach that of reaction again. Sadly, she is seen infrequently thereafter.

The brouhaha, started by a magazine article by River Thumbolt (Shoniqua Shandai), promises to have a devastating effect on the financial empire built by the Baer’s. River’s surprise appearance at Irving’s office together with Kelly’s attitude and facial reactions, is the turning point of the play.

In the middle of the possible demise of the Baer’s fame and fortune, Brock Silver (Nicholas D’Agosto), a misogynist blogger whose radio show is growing in popularity, shows up.

Eliza Clark is a highly talented playwright who has an awful lot to say and accomplish in 1 hour and 50 minutes without an intermission. Therein lies the problem. Too little time, too many spoken words to grasp the full effect and purpose of her play.

That being said – for the most part you will enjoy the five actors and the witticism of Eliza Clark. And if you haven’t been to the Kirk Douglas Theatre, it’s about time you go. It is a truly remarkable and comfortable venue.

3 Bagels out of 4

“Quack” continues through Nov, 18 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. For tickets and information, visit

Jerry Cutler is rabbi at Creative Arts Temple

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