The body swap comedy has long been an important dramatic tradition. And new play Under My Skin by Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser does this tradition proud. Taking a new twist on familiar territory, Under My Skin finds the actors, Kerry Butler (Melody Dent) and Matt Walton (Harrision Badish III), switching costumes instead of mannerisms. So instead of a Freaky Friday situation where Jamie Lee Curtis (or Barbara Harris if you’re old school) acts like a teenager, you have Kerry Butler dressed as a man, dealing with her new found “equipment” and Harrison’s randy financè. Or Matt Walton in a breezy hospital gown, dealing with the uncomfortable reality of a visit to the gynecologist.
The play tackles some bigger issues too, as the laughs come. Predictably, the differences between men and women, and how we all should be a little more understanding of each other. But also the very hot button issue of healthcare, as Harrison is the CEO of a large insurance provider and Melody his employee. Many aspects are touched on, from preventative care to benefits for part time employees. If only we could all swap bodies in real life, maybe we’d be able to figure it out too.
Kerry Butler and Matt Walton both did great jobs retaining their characters, while juggling the task of also acting as the other. The cast is rounded out by a fantastic ensemble, and they all deserve a mention: Dierdre Friel, Edward James Hyland, Kate Loprest, Andrew Polk, Megan Sikora, Allison Strong. The understudies are Justin Adams, Kate Fahrner, and John Michalski.
Make sure you get over to the Little Shubert and see this show! And before the show, stop by KTCHN, just down 42nd street. They have a great $25 Pre-Theatre Prefixe menu. We had a little taste, and if the quinoa bites are any indication, you won’t be disappointed. In the food or the show after.