Ilyse and I saw The Clean House at The New Rep last night and I highly recommend it. It’s a stellar cast and a funny, poignant play. It only runs through next Sunday so hurry.
A little more than ten years ago I saw David Mamet’s Speed the Plow at the Lyric Stage and it remains one of the finest productions I have seen of any play anywhere. Phil Patrone was stunning and I became a fan – trying to see any production he was in. I later met him socially through my wife and he was one of the nicest people you could know.
Phil passed away this weekend at a very young age leaving his wife Betsy and 6-year-old daughter Grace. He will be terribly missed by colleagues and fans.
I guess I enjoyed the Huntington's production of The Rivals about as
much as someone 250 years from now will enjoy watching one of our
sitcoms. Terry Byrne, who reviewed it for the Herald, hit it on the
head when she wrote
Martin is able to get his actors to create believable characters who
never descend to caricature, no matter how silly they may act? At the
head of this crowd are Will LeBow as the hot-tempered Sir Anthony
Absolute and Mary Louise Wilson as the elegantly nutty Mrs. Malaprop.
LeBow in particular is, as usual, pitch perfect in gesture, pitch, and
delivery. But there isn't a weak link in the cast. The set is
absolutely beautiful and the costumes are technicolor and brilliant
(except Julia's orange gloves and shoes just don't look right).
Yet, I still do care about the story line. Surely it's not too much to ask for both a good story and good acting.
We just subscribed to the
I liked Burn This overall and would recommend it. It’s not earth shattering in its exploration of the four characters. The plot is no mystery. After the first act you know what’s coming and it’s not easy to imagine what’s going to make it interesting. You know there’s got to be a showdown between
Nat DeWolf (who I must have seen on Broadway in Take Me Out but don’t remember) played Larry perfectly. It would have been easy to go too far into stereotypical queeniness but DeWolf stays understated and makes sure not to upstage any of the other actors. This was not easy since he’s the comic relief and since Anne Torsiglieri’s Anna doesn't have much of a presence and
Michael T. Weiss is great as Pale – easily the
Directorally the show down between
I just wish I had liked Anne Torsiglieri’s performance better. She gave me no sense of who Anna’s character was. From her opening lines it seemed as if she wasn’t sure who she was either. She delivers them for the benefit of the audience rather than to the two people she knows best in the privacy of her home. And yet, once you buy into the idea that this is intentional, that she is a performer who is always on, she retreats and really doesn’t seem to make any other strong choices that give you a clue about where she comes from. She plays straight while the men revolve around her. But there’s much more that character needs to do than stand back and be entertained with the audience. For example, when Pale barges in to her apartment at in the morning, Anna responds to him in the same flatness, lack of inflection, with which she endures all of her scenes. If a big menacing guy barged in at and started swearing and pacing and undressing, you’d expect something in the way of fear, anger – some intense emotion – but here there’s none. Toward the end of the play Larry explains that Anna has “never had to carry her own passport” but Anna never conveys this herself.
What’s more problematic is that Anne Torsiglieri is unconvincing as a dancer – she doesn’t move like a dancer, she doesn’t stretch like a dancer. When she says she is stiff from not dancing for two days her movements are not at all those of a stiff dancer. This is ironic since Torsiglieri has a musical theater background and surely does dance. It almost seems that she was directed not to act like a dancer.
This is not a play I would rush out to see again but the