THE VILLAGE VOICE

October 9, 1996 Wednesday

PLAY BALL

        MATTY — a one-person show at the Lambs’ Theatre about legendary New York Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson written and acted by Eddie Frierson — offers an entertaining reprise of the life and times of one of baseball’s early greats. Frierson, as Mathewson looking back, pours energy and down-home charm into an evening of raconteur theater, miing reminiscence about oddballs (such as John McGraw, the Giants’ manager who got his way no matter what, and Charley Faust, a fan taken up and humored as a team rabbit’s-foot who seems to have been the ancestor of today’s chicken-and-gorilla-suited cheerleaders, were two) with insider stories and baseball arcana. Known as a college boy and a gentleman, Mathewson seems to have been almost everyone’s friend (even famously vicious Ty Cobb), but he hated anything that blackened the game and noticing patterns of losing led to the scandalous fall of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Frierson’s Al Gore style meshes well with Mathewson’s apple-pie Americaness and conveys, despite the hard knocks of the player’s life, both the richness and happy unreality of baseball legend.

 

a review by Martin Washburn

 

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