Broadway's ''The Nap': Hilarity On A Field Of Green
“I am a fish and snooker is my sea,” says Dylan Spokes, an aspiring marlin of a player in “The Nap,” the delightfully loopy comedy by the “One Man, Two Guvnors” playwright Richard Bean. Even with some deft explaining, Yank audiences may still be behind the eight ball — wait, there’s no eight ball — in this Brit-centric, billiard-like game that’s at the heart of the play. But they’re sure to revel in Bean’s eccentric characters and daft dialogue even as they raise their eyebrows over the plot — and plot twists.
There’s also something mysteriously appealing in entering the world of this pub-popular sport, here set in Sheffield, England, ground zero for snooker championships. Add high stakes, lowlifes and a wicked wit, and you’ve got a solid win.
Earnest Dylan (Ben Schnetzer) practices for the next big tourney in a dingy social hall when his charming rogue of a dad (John Ellison Conlee) drops by for support and deadpan yucks with his gentle-natured, philosophizing, vegetarian son. (When Dylan passes on a shrimp sandwich because he doesn’t eat anything with a brain, wise-guy Dad counters with, “They’re shrimps, they’re not novelists.”)
Comedy and plot kick in when Mohammad Butt, an “integrity officer” of the game (Bhavesh Patel) and Eleanor Lavery, an officer of the “national crime agency” (Heather Lind), make a surprise visit for a urine sample and words of warning about game-fixing, given Dad’s checkered history with the law and the gangster leanings of Dylan’s sponsor, Waxy Bush, a transgender woman played with icy cold snap by the terrific Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”). Also on hand is Dylan’s manager (Max Gordon Moore, who gives a hysterical life-in-extremis performance).