Posts filed under “Weekend”
Mr. First-Nighter is a theater professional, working with directors, producers and writers on some of Broadway’s biggest and longest running hit shows. In addition to being a Tony Award voter, he is involved in numerous current productions.
Because of his day job, this is published under his nom de plume.
NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS
By Mr. First-Nighter
I’m a Tony voter. As such, I see everything for free… which is a distinctly mixed blessing. As evidence, I offer the following collection of thumbnail reviews and arbitrary grades for the season’s shows.
First, the plays:
A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE – Martin (Lt of Inishmore, Pillowman, Beauty Queen of Leenane) McDonagh’s new black comedy has terrifically quirky performances by Chris Walken as a violent character with a mother fixation who has been hunting for his hand for 47 years, and Sam Rockwell, as a smarmy, scary hotel clerk with delusions of heroism. There is also a drug-dealing couple who have conned a guy you don’t want to cross. Throw in a suitcase filled with severed hands and you’ve got a fun night of theater. Unlike McDonagh’s other plays, this one doesn’t add up to very much, and it sort of peters out by the end, but it’s a taut, grisly entertainment. [B]
A STEADY RAIN – This is a solid police procedural with stunning performances by Wolverine and 007 and effectively minimalist design. It is told primarily in a dual monologue style, with only occasional outbursts of dialogue and interaction, but it is a surprisingly moving, if minor, drama [B+]
ENRON – This exhilarating new play by Brit Lucy Prebble uses myriad theatrical pyrotechnics to explore the dark underbelly of the American Dream. Naturally, it failed to get a “best play” nomination and closed abruptly after a much lauded premiere production in London. Norbert Leo Butz is scarily compelling as the visionary entrepreneur / avatar-of-the-free-market-apocalypse Jeff Skilling. The supporting players, direction, design are all first rate. Even the musical elements are innovative. Sure, the play is more flash than substance, but it’s still pretty good. [A-]
IN THE NEXT ROOM, or THE VIBRATOR PLAY – Sarah Ruhl’s new work is a comic, poetic and profound rumination on a woman’s quest for empowerment. It features great performances by Laura Benanti and Michael Cerveris, and a final scene that is startlingly romantic in its imagery and moving in its dramatic effect. It’s the best play I’ve seen in quite a while… and not just because of the girl-on-girl action! [A]
LOOPED – Valerie Harper is Tallulah Bankhead, in this slight piece of theater about an uptight film editor and his sound engineer trying to hold the fading icon together, as she drinks, swears, snorts, leers, and smart-asses her way through a “looping session” to re-record some dialogue for her last film. The first act is amusing, in a garish campy way, but Act II devolves into a psycho-sexual soap opera as the great lady forces the editor into revealing his secret shame. Harper gives a moving performance that could easily have become a cartoon but doesn’t. The editor is an awful role, so the actor should be held blameless. The play is atrocious but not without entertainment value, if you leave at the intermission [C-]
NEXT FALL – This off-Broadway play by Geoff Naufts and his Naked Angels theater company was helped to Broadway by Elton John. It is well told, surprisingly funny, mostly well acted, and even beautiful in moments. But it’s also a heavy-handed examination of religion and gay sexuality that alternates actual insight with utter banality. Still, it’s a worthy, even if not entirely successful, effort. [B-]
Hmmmm, turbo . . . Give me 600 politically incorrect ponies any day . . . Hat tip Mike R Source: BMW M Boss confirms next M5 powered by a V8 turbocharged http://www.bmwblog.com/2010/06/07/bmw-m-boss-confirms-next-m5-powered-by-a-v8-turbocharged/