Reviews

Seldom Forward

When Merrily We Roll Along opened in 1981, Frank Rich wrote, “to be a Stephen Sondheim fan is to have one’s heart broken at regular intervals.”  However, this time around, it was not simpy the songs that led to the heartbreak.  “Mr. Sondheim has given this evening a half-dozen songs that are crushing and beautiful—that soar […]

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Reviews

I Wondered What Robert Newton Would Think of This

Clive Owen drapes both hands over the arms of his chair. With a taut stillness that could be mistaken for calm, he looks exactly like a lion in the moments before it will pounce. One gets the feeling he could rape or murder without mussing up his suit or disheveling his thickly gelled hair. His movements […]

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Reviews

The Reference Is Obscure

“I began with a desire to speak with the dead,” Stephen Greenblatt writes at the beginning of Shakespearean Negotiations.  “Literature professors are salaried, middle-class shamans.”  For a few years in the ‘nineties, Tom Stoppard also desired to speak with the dead.  His plays Arcadia and Indian Ink (the latter is currently being revived by Roundabout) both concern people in […]

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Reviews

It’s Time for Me to Scare You

Just because Dinner with Friends is much like every other domestic play written in the past eighty years—John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger comes especially to mind—doesn’t mean it is a bad one.  In fact, it is excellent.  Donald Margulies’ script is witty, unassuming, and quietly perceptive.  It opens at the end of a dinner party hosted by […]

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Reviews

¿Quién Sabe?

At the offices of the George H. Jones Company, platitudes rap out as quickly as the clickety-clack of the typewriters.  “Hot dog!” cries an office boy (Ryan Dinning) in response to nearly everything.  “Haste makes waste,” warns an elderly stenographer (Henny Russell).  And George H. Jones (Michael Cumpsty) himself informs all his employees, “The early […]

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Reviews

Match Me, Charlie

I’ve never been too enthusiastic about Clifford Odets’ dated, left-wing didacticism, and even if The Big Knife leans closer to Sweet Smell of Success than Waiting for Lefty, it waters down the former’s cynicism with the latter’s heavy-handedness.  Towards the end of the play, after identifying himself as a Hamlet, the Hollywood star Charlie Castle […]

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Reviews

Why Don’t We Just Start at the Beginning?

It’s a common choice.  A young actor, known mostly for teen angst movies or shallow blockbusters, decides to take a stab at legitimacy.  It can go either way.  Recently, Disney Channel alumnus Shia LaBeouf humiliated himself in a series of interviews filled with choice nonsensical quotes like, “You give Terrence Malick a movie like Transformers, […]

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