Let’s Be Honest

Standing in front of a wall of apple carts filled with objects that will eventually be incorporated into his act, Helder Guimarães tells us that, as a child, his favorite fairy tale was “The Ugly Duckling.”  At first, the relevance is unclear.  But by the end of his rendition, the cards he has been absently shuffling in his hands have transformed from blue into red: voilà. Continue reading “Let’s Be Honest”

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Mauling and Muttering

They called them the “angry young men,” but Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey is filled with enough class rage to argue for an amendment to the term.  Originally produced in 1958, the play follows the down-and-outs Jo (Rebekah Brockman), a seventeen-year-old girl lurching toward womanhood, and her mother Helen (Rachel Botchan), who quickly abandons her daughter for a booze-soaked marriage with a younger man (Bradford Cover).  Alone in their flat, Jo has a brief affair with a Black sailor (Ade Otukoya) and ends up pregnant and rooming with a gay art student, Geoffrey (John Evans Reese).  A jazz trio quietly watches the action, sometimes from the side and sometimes in the center, lending the play an occasionally dreamy touch. Continue reading “Mauling and Muttering”

A Cat Is Not a Dog

I have never been particularly fond of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s single-chord career, but a largely plotless musical that runs for over seven thousand performances certainly warrants at least one open-minded viewing.  And while I can’t attest to being a full convert, I have to admit that during the revival of Cats currently running at the Neil Simon Theatre—which, by all accounts, is quite faithful to the original—I found myself occasionally charmed by the ‘eighties excess of this synth-backed schmaltz. Continue reading “A Cat Is Not a Dog”