Friday, November 21, 2008

The play's (not) the thing (part 1)

So I'm heading towards the end of my trip now and I haven't mentioned a single show since Gypsy and I've seen a ton of them! So here, in chronological order, are my takes on them:

American Buffa-huh?

Why did they think casting Cedric The Entertainer in a Mamet play would be a good fit? And Haley Joel Osment has not grown into his looks. His looks have, in fact, stayed exactly where they were and his head has grown which makes him look like he's a little bit simple. They're both outclassed by Jon Leguizamo, the only one of the trio who is a good fit to Mamet and looks like he knows what he's doing on the stage. The play itself has not really aged well and I was left wondering why they'd bothered with this revival. Clearly I am not alone in thinking that as after opening night this past Monday brought them a wealth of mediocre reviews, they will be closing this Sunday. Don't see it, even though you still can.


I had such high hopes for A Man For All Seasons. These were cruelly dashed. It's a hugely boring play and while Frank Langella is absolutely wonderful, he's so much better than literally EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE CAST, it's like he's in a different play altogether. I had a couple of beers with dinner which was a mistake because, try as I might, I could not stay awake in Act One. So dull.


The Seagull is an odd play, being somewhat self reflexive as it focuses on actors and writers. It does have, at its centre, an absolutely remarkable performance from Kristin Scott Thomas, which everybody should see. The casting of a few American actors has unbalanced the show, unfortunately, but it is still worth seeing, if only for her.

I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love

The revival of South Pacific is, without a doubt, the best show I've seen on my trip. I only booked it because it was THE show to see, I wasn't necessarily interested in the piece itself. My only exposure to the show up to this point was seeing the godawful TV movie version with Glenn Close as a woefully miscast Nellie Forbush. Well, this is an absolutely wonderful production, with some fabulous performances in it. Kelli O'Hara is glorious, luminous and radiant as Nellie Forbush. Paulo Szot, as Emile De Becque, brings the house down whenever he sings, particularly in "This Nearly Was Mine". Matthew Morrison is also wonderful in the smaller role of Joseph Cable. And he takes his shirt off, which is never a bad thing. I was very moved and a little tearful by the curtain call. Loved it so much. Would see it again in a heartbeat only it's sold out and it's damned expensive.

Artificial Respiration

The New Group have chosen to revive Kevin Elyot's seven year old play, Mouth to Mouth and give it a New York airing. Why, I don't know. I saw it in the UK when it had its premiere and I loved it. The cast, with the exception of the wonderful Elisabeth Jasicki, struggle with the British accent. The play is still slight but heartbreaking and worth seeing. It's a shame I'm not here for The New Group's next production, as a revival of Mourning Becomes Electra with Jena Malone and Lili Taylor sounds thrilling.

Christ, I've seen so many I'm gonna have to split this entry in half!

1 comment:

Grouchbutt said...

Mrs. G also said that Frank Langella's performance was far superior to those of the rest of the cast. I love it when independent (re)viewers reach the same conclusion.