CEOExpress
Subscribe to This Blog | Author Login | Join CEOExpressSelect | Private Label CEOExpress

 
Theatre Reviews LImited  Your Source for Theatre Reviews in New York City
By David Roberts
  
Amazon | CNN | Wikipedia | Theatre Reviews Limited | CEOExpress 
David's Blog
News


Message(s) for 12/7/2017. Click here to view all messages.


  Navigation Calendar
    
    Days with posts will be linked

  Most Recent Posts

 
Broadway Review: “The Parisian Woman” at the Hudson Theatre (Tickets on Sale through Saturday March 11, 2018)

Photo (L-R): Uma Thurman as “Chloe,” Josh Lucas as “Tom,” and Marton Csokas as “Peter.” Credit: Matthew Murphy.
Broadway Review: “The Parisian Woman” at the Hudson Theatre (Tickets on Sale through Saturday March 11, 2018)
By Beau Willimon
Directed by Pam MacKinnon
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

Beau Willimon is perhaps best known for creating the successful Netflix original series “House of Cards” which is completing its final season. Much of what made the series so savvy was the way the writers exposed the chicanery and dishonesty of politics without “naming names.” The episodes wisely left making connections to current events to the viewers. Inspired by Henry François Becque’s 1885 play “La Parisienne,” Mr. Willimon’s “The Parisian Woman,” currently running at the Hudson Theatre, overshadows its important themes of love, trust, and the dynamics of relationships with clichés about Number 45 and the shenanigans in the current West Wing.

Successful tax attorney Tom (Josh Lucas), wanting “to make a difference,” is in the running for nomination to a Federal judgeship and his wife Chloe (Uma Thurman) wants to help him get the job despite her affairs with the uber-jealous Peter (Marton Csokas) and a recent female graduate of Harvard Law (the play’s only “surprise”). Chloe’s future with Tom is uncertain. He knows of Chloe’s flirtations and accepts them as part of their “agreement.” But his wife’s penchant for other lovers has grown tiresome and has affected their marriage. After all, Chloe affirms, “You can pretend to love anything for fifteen minutes.” This is a reference to Tom pretending to like port at Jeanette’s (Blair Brown) bash, but proves to be a foreshadowing of things to come. As is Chloe’s interest in Jeanette’s daughter Rebecca (Phillipa Soo) who also attends the party. This is the flimsy plot driven by uninteresting characters with mostly mundane conflicts.

It seems no one knows what do with Beau Willimon’s script: Pam MacKinnon directs it like a daytime television drama and the actors decide to follow her lead and deliver stilted performances that rarely rise above the mediocre. Only Josh Lucas and Blair Brown seem to want to explore the deeper levels of their characters Tom and Jeanette respectively, but Ms. MacKinnon’s lugubrious pacing often gets in the way of the farcical tone that is at the heart of the script. What ought to be light and terribly funny becomes ponderous and overwrought leaving all attempts at exploring the comedy beneath the high drama falling flat.

Derek McLane’s set is exquisite with stunning detail. Peter Kaczorowski’s lighting is delicate and appropriate. Jane Greenwood’s costumes are serviceable but too often oddly ill-fitting which is quite unusual for the iconic designer. The massive drop-down “screen” with Darrel Maloney’s projections seems out of place and simply provides a needless opportunity for the set changes. Actors appearing in “doorways” glancing at one another and the audience then strutting off is odd indeed.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Willimon’s important rich and enduring questions get lost in his muddled script. What is truth? Is truth important? Is telling the truth important? Is there a difference between truth and reality? What is that difference? Grappling with questions like these can be redemptive, especially at times when multiple distractions attempt to cloud verity and validity. “The Parisian” Woman” avoids addressing the questions it raises instead opting for rehashing the political news of the day with disappointing results.

THE PARISIAN WOMAN

“The Parisian Woman” stars Josh Lucas, Blair Brown, Marton Csokas, Phillipa Soo, and Uma Thurman.

The creative team for “The Parisian Woman” Derek McLane (scenic design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Darrel Maloney (projections), and Broken Chord (sound design and original composition). Hair Design is by Tom Watson and Make-up Design is by Tommy Kurzman. Casting is by Telsey + Company, Will Cantler CSA. Production photos by Matthew Murphy.

“The Parisian Woman” runs for a limited engagement at the Hudson Theatre (141 West 44th Street). Tickets are now available through www.thehudsonbroadway.com or (855) 801-5876. For further information, including the performance schedule, visit http://parisianwomanbroadway.com/. Running time is 90 minutes without intermission.

Photo (L-R): Uma Thurman as “Chloe,” Josh Lucas as “Tom,” and Marton Csokas as “Peter.” Credit: Matthew Murphy.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Posted by David Roberts on Thursday, December 7, 2017

Off-Broadway Review: “Pride and Prejudice” at Primary Stages at Cherry Lane Theatre (Through Saturday January 6, 2018)

Photo: The Cast of “Pride and Prejudice.” Credit: James Leynse.
Off-Broadway Review: “Pride and Prejudice” at Primary Stages at Cherry Lane Theatre (Through Saturday January 6, 2018)
By Kate Hamill (Based on the Novel by Jane Austen)
Directed by Amanda Dehnert
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

Kate Hamill has done it again. The ‘it’ in question, is her remarkable ability to adapt Jane Austen’s iconic novels for the stage. Her adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility” had a successful Off-Broadway run of over two-hundred and sixty-five performances. Her current adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” which is playing at Primary Stages at Cherry Lane Theatre should enjoy the same acclimation and longevity. “Pride and Prejudice,” like “Sense and Sensibility,” is more than a mere adaptation: Ms. Hamill’s iteration of the timeless classic is more a retelling of Austen’s story of “how you know when you’ve met the right person.”

Kate Hamill’s retelling also explores the seriousness with which people treat love – romantic and otherwise. Hence, this “Pride and Prejudice” is, in Hamill’s words, “a screwball comedy.” Staged as a delightfully comedic farce, this adaptation rehearses all the novel’s important characters, conflicts, and plots with both a sense of the zany and an awareness of the rich and enduring questions raised by Austen. Director Amanda Dehnert keeps this delightful play moving with a beyond-brisk pace that manages to clearly delineate the novel’s action from beginning to end. If, perchance, an audience member had never read nor heard of “Pride and Prejudice, she or he would easily understand the story and identify every character without confusion or difficulty.

Except for Kate Hamill (Lizzy), Jason O’Connell (Mr. Darcy), and Nance Williamson (Mrs. Bennet), the actors play multiple roles. John Tufts, for example, plays both Bingley (with syrupy bravado) and Mary (with dispassionate jealousy): Mr. Tufts dons a dress and rearranges his hair for Mary. The dress comes off and he rearranges his hair again for Bingley. There are times when Mary becomes Bingley with just the hair adjustment. This might happen because of the rapid costume changes or, perhaps, betimes there is a bit of Bingley in Mary and bit of Mary in Bingley. Anything is possible in this refreshing and engaging retelling.

Mayhem abounds on the Cherry Lane stage as Primary Stages’ “Pride and Prejudice” unfolds its treasure trove of gender-bending antics, near impossible situations, buffoonery, and raucous horseplay. The assumed seriousness of the novel is replaced with the unexpected playfulness of Ms. Hamill’s script, the precision of Ms. Dehnert’s direction, and the brilliant cast assembled for this production. Kate Hamill’s Lizzie bristles with defiance and vulnerability. Jason O’Connell’s Darcy collapses under the weight of reality to understand the importance of true love. Mark Bedard’s Mr. Collins brings comedy to the concept of pedantic.

Chris Thorn’s Mr. Bennet crinkles with austerity and disdain for all things not him and counterpoints Nance Williamson’s Mrs. Bennett’s disdain for Mr. Bennett and all things not her. Rounding out the cast are Kimberly Chatterjee (Lydia and Lady Catherine) and Amelia Pedlow (Jane, Miss DeBourgh) both delivering convincing performances in their multiple roles.

John McDermott’s efficient set design, Tracy Christensen’s durable and character-specific costumes, and Eric Southern’s lighting provide the perfect “space” for Ms. Hamill’s insightful and innovative adaptation. This is a “Pride and Prejudice” for this time and every time and, in its forward-looking approach, invites at least one visit before its proposed closing on Epiphany 2018.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

“Pride and Prejudice” is presented by Primary Stages in association with Jamie deRoy in a co-production with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

The cast of “Pride and Prejudice” includes Mark Bedard, Kimberly Chatterjee, Kate Hamill, Jason O'Connell, Amelia Pedlow, Chris Thorn, John Tufts, and Nance Williamson.

The creative team for “Pride and Prejudice” includes John McDermott (scenic design), Tracy Christensen (costume design), Eric Southern (lighting design), Palmer Hefferan (sound design), and Ellenore Scott (choreography). Roxana Khan serves as production stage manager. Production photos by James Leynse.

“Pride and Prejudice” runs at Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street) through Saturday January 6, 2018. For the schedule of performances, please visit www.PrimaryStages.org.

Single tickets for “Pride and Prejudice “are priced starting at $80.00 with additional premium seating options offered. All tickets are available at www.PrimaryStages.org or by calling OvationTix at 212-352-3101. Running time is 2 hours and 25 minutes with an intermission.

Photo: The Cast of “Pride and Prejudice.” Credit: James Leynse.
0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink | Posted by David Roberts on Thursday, December 7, 2017