Theater Review: With Rob McClure, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ is Non-Stop Fun

Directed by 4-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, the show is a super fun, non-stop laugh riot

Rob McClure and the Company of Mrs. Doubtfire (Photo by Joan Marcus)

I’m always a bit skeptical when movies that I love are turned into big splashy Broadway musicals. John WatersHairspray did it right. Unfortunately, his other film turned musical, Cry-Baby stunk up the theatre. Beetlejuice was mostly fine and Little Miss Sunshine was definitely not. So when it was announced that Mrs. Doubtfire, the Robin Williams movie about a dad pretending to be a Scottish nanny, was headed to the Great White Way, I wasn’t holding my breath. But holy heck, was I wrong.

Directed by 4-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and starring Rob McClure, who originated the role on Broadway, the show is a super fun, non-stop laugh riot with a few tugging-at-your-heartstrings moments sprinkled throughout.

The show follows the same story as the film: Daniel Hillard (McClure) is a free-spirited dad of three who can’t get his act together. After his wife Miranda (Maggie Lakis) asks for divorce, he concocts a scheme to become his childrens nanny and, with the help of his brother (Aaron Kaburick) and brother-in-law (Nik Alexander), Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire is born.

McClure, who you may have seen in the La Jolla Playhouse’s Charlie Chaplin musical, Limelight (which opened on Broadway as Chaplin), is, as always, excellent. He doesn’t try to mimic Robin Williams, it’s more of an homage to him. He makes the character his own in the best way possible.

Lakis, who’s actually married to McClure in real life, could have easily been the heavy here but she’s so easily relatable that the audience easily understands her frustrations with Daniel and why she wanted to move on with her life. As the kids, Lydia (Giselle Gutierrez), Christopher (played by Sam Bird and Axel Bernard Rimmele in opposite performances), and Natalie (Emerson Mae Chan and Charlotte Sydney Harrington), have plenty to work with and knock it out of the park each time they’re on stage. The same can be said for both Alexander and Kaburick, who has a running bit where he must yell every time he tells a lie. You would think the gag would get tiresome after a while but every time he does it it just gets funnier and funnier.

Every minute of the show, from a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell with music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, is just flat out crowd-pleaser.

MRS. DOUBTFIRE is currently playing at the San Diego Civic Theatre. For more info and tickets: Broadway San Diego

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