Friday, May 18, 2012

Double Guvnors

Oliver Chris, Tom Edden and James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors

Here's nifty way to enjoy two men and four guvnors. On Sunday May 20, BAM is showing the NT Live broadcast of One Man, Two Guvnors, which was taped in London last fall, at 11am. If one really had a hankering to, you could catch that and still have enough time to grab a quick lunch, eat it while you ride the 2 or 3 train from Brooklyn to Manhattan and catch the 3pm Broadway matinee of One Man, Two Guvnors at the Music Box Theatre. What else? Maybe write an essay or a blog entry comparing and contrasting the two productions? Note what lines were changed, how performances evolved, how English vs. American audiences responded to certain moments?

Alas, I wont' be able to...I'll be in Princeton, N.J., attending attending a new American play (Are You There, McPhee?) starring a wonderful Canadian actor (Paul Gross).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Crazy for The Caretaker

Jonathan Pryce in The Caretaker

Until I started looking into Jonathan Pryce's theatrical past for this Time Out New York feature, I hadn't realized that the last time he did a nonmusical play in New York was 1984, or that the short-lived Broadway show--Accidental Death of an Anarchist--also featured Patti LuPone and Bill Irwin. The only time I'd seen him onstage before this past weekend was as Fagin in Oliver! during a trip to London in 1995.

But he's just outstanding in The Caretaker, which is now at BAM until mid-June. He plays Davies, the tramp at the center of the Harold Pinter drama, like a mental patient who either escaped or was discharged too soon, and it works really well. It makes his plight, even his paranoid rants about black people and drafts, much more tragic and funny. And it gives him the chance to engage in a heap of intriguing stage business without seeming hammy, from the way he taps about the stage when he tries on a pair of shoes to to the way he engages with plays with an old lawnmower or takes off his pants and sniffs the crotch. Has me longing for a fall trip to London to catch his King Lear...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Fire's Burning

Theo Stockman and Claire van der Boom in An Early History of Fire.

Anyone else notice that the New Group had a solid sleeper season in 2011-12? Maybe I'm the only one who thought so. Neither Thomas Bradshaw's Burning, Erika Sheffer's Russian Transport nor David Rabe's An Early History of Fire was a perfect play, but each was dark and combustible and challenging--the sort of fare that's getting harder to find even Off Broadway. (Note references to fire and burn in the titles of two of the shows.) I had a chance to review the last of the three for Time Out New York.