HANNIBAL, Mo. - It's not easy to put a label on “A Man and His Prostate,” a one-man show presented by Bluff City Theater Saturday night at Hannibal High School.
There's plenty of humor, but it's not quite a comedy. It's filled with facts, yet it's not a public service announcement. There are even deep and moving moments of a long, happy relationship, but calling it a love story is certainly not correct.
In truth, this play is all of those things, wrapped up as a fireside chat with your favorite uncle.
The uncle who makes your parents sometimes cringe when he's telling stories, but the one who keeps you laughing and engaged the whole time.
The show was written by Ed Weinberg based on his personal experiences while vacationing in Italy. But on stage, that favorite uncle is embodied by the legendary Ed Asner.
Asner, best known for his role as Lou Grant in the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," is a Hollywood icon. He's also the voice behind the cranky curmudgeon Carl in Disney/Pixar's "Up," and the jolly man-in-red in "Elf."
Asner has been a part of popular culture, touching multiple generations.
Now, through Weinberg's story, Asner is taking this show on the road to bring laughs, while also educating people about health issues related to the prostate.
One point the show makes is that diagnosis of these problems shouldn't be so difficult. Doctors know what they're looking for, and they need to address it with their patients. If they don't, if they feel uncomfortable, then they could end up with a patient passed out at the foot of the statue of David in Italy - which is what happened to Weinberg.
There are moments in this play that will make the audience laugh from simple humor. There are also moments that will cause a more nervous, uncomfortable type of laughter.
No punches are pulled.
That very unfiltered style intended as a wake-up call brings an authenticity to the tale being told.
Asner is the perfect voice for this message.
He knows how to balance his delivery to pull the reactions he wants from the audience. His skill was in full force on this stage, and the crowd responded with laughter, applause and a standing ovation to cap off the night.
Bluff City Theater is responsible for bringing this production to Hannibal. Bringing a celebrity of Asner's caliber to this area is something that we sorely need more of in the Tri-states.
A success such as Saturday night's show will hopefully help attract more such productions.