The setup: In 1991, standup comedian Rob Becker developed his observations about men and women into a full-length one-man show, Defending the Caveman. Its premise that the differences between the sexes are age-old, inherent, and the source of our strength must have something to it, because the show is still booking appearances all over the world and holds the record for the longest-running solo performance on Broadway.
The execution: Ben Tedder is the actor we get to experience for the second half of this tour stop at Phoenix Theatre, and he seems to be a favorite among audiences who write online reviews. He's a bulky, good-natured North Carolinian whom I somehow don't find particularly funny.
From what I can gather, lots of people love this show to death, and the rest of us have no idea why. If you're in a long-term male-female relationship and have not yet been exposed to explanations of why men and women make each other crazy with the differences in the way we communicate, to the extent that women think all men are assholes (or, more charitably, that they're the very definition of ADD) and men write women off as vindictive chatterboxes who disregard logic, then Caveman could be one of those things that makes you laugh and makes you learn. But it seems to me that our culture has drenched us in such theories over the past three decades.
In any case, the show is glacially paced (of course, I'm a woman, so . . .) and short on actual jokes or even charming anecdotes. If you have other couples in town for the holiday, though, it's an innocuous entertainment that's kind to both sexes. The verdict: You'll probably enjoy this production of Defending the Caveman more than the showroom version in Las Vegas.
Defending the Caveman continues through Sunday, November 25, at 100 East McDowell Road. Seats start at $25. Order tickets here, or call 602-254-2151.
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