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The Life of Reilly

Flamboyant revelations
By ALICIA POTTER  |  November 14, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
Charles Nelson Reilly

For children of the ’70s, no one personifies TV-sanctioned flamboyance like Charles Nelson Reilly. Yet The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and The Match Game don’t do the spitty-lipped actor justice — a major revelation in this workmanlike adaptation of Reilly’s affecting one-man show by directors Barry Poltermann and Frank Anderson. The captain’s hat and pipe may be gone, but the naughty wit remains sharp, as a commanding Reilly scuffs across stage. He dishes the blackly comic details of a miserable childhood and his Uta Hagen–trained rise to a notable Broadway career. Equally at ease reciting a soliloquy from Hamlet as he is imitating Meryl Streep, Reilly flips off those who dismiss him or, worse, think he’s dead. (He died in May.) Glaringly absent, though, from this otherwise intriguing memoir is a glimpse into his relationships. Despite being famous for filling in blanks on a game show, the performer evidently preferred to leave some thoughts unfinished. 87 minutes | Kendall Square
  Topics: Reviews , Charles Nelson Reilly
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