Mastergate

  • by Larry Gelbart
  • Narrated by Walter Matthau, Edward Asner, Charles Durning, Hector Elizondo, full cast
  • 1 hrs and 40 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

The Tony Award-winning playwright and creator of TV's MASH has fashioned a wickedly funny satire about the Iran-Contra Senate hearings and their participants. A top-notch Hollywood cast, headed by Walter Matthau, brings this scathing comedy to life.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Wiley Slaughter and Shepherd Hunter - a superbly deadpan Walter Matthau - have just completed one of the CIA's most covert and inane operations, which allegedly included producing Hollywood films for foreign dictators. Now they sit before a select joint House and Senate subcommittee, Senator Archer Bowman presiding - gleefully played by Ed Asner - ready to spill the beans. Every A-list actor in this broad, scathing, and somehow whimsical satire has the vocal style of real Congressional hearings down pat. Award-winning playwright and creator of the "M.A.S.H." TV series Larry Gelbart wrote this play in response to the 1980s Iran-Contra affair. It's clear from the uproarious audience laughter throughout this live recording that this political farce continues to ring true.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wordy, astonishing, laugh out loud funny

If you like to relax, sit back, let a story breeze past your mind, smiling a distant smile every few minutes, stay away. This takes your entire mind. If you're driving, you will go over the curb.

There are no two successive lines in Gelbart's play, that aren't funny. And if it fizzes out a little towards the end, it's because you are exhausted from all the wordplay, and from the pure radio presentation, that can't make up for it in stagecraft, than from any fault on the side of the writing.

Prepare to be amazed, amused, and quoting it for years to come. Love it!
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- Sam

Walter Matthau Alone is Worth the Price

I give this production 3 1/2 stars overall.

What's great about it: The all-star cast, including Walter Matthau, Charles Durning, Ed Asner, and Hector Elizondo (Matthau's cast mate in one of my all-time favorite movies, the original 1970s version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three). Also: This topic (Senate investigations /Congressional hearings /government corruption) is newly relevant. Democrats and Republicans alike will probably enjoy it.

What's not so great: The script, by M*A*S*H creator Larry Gelbart, while cutesy-clever and chock full o' puns, is not truly laugh-out-loud funny. I actually found myself certain that if a laugh track (of the kind that unfortunately marred later seasons of M*A*S*H) was not employed in the making of this recording, and if this production was really performed before a live theater audience as claimed, then the audience HAD to have been prompted visually to laugh at practically every single line.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed it overall and am glad Audible recommended it to me.
Grade: B- or C+
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- Gretchen SLP

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-28-2004
  • Publisher: L.A. Theatre Works