Theatrical Loose Ends
I ended the last posting with "My Wonderful Day," which was part of the 2009 Brits Off Broadway
series at 59E59. If I hadn't had to run off, I would have continued talking about this series. It also included "Wolves at the Window" which I don't remember. (Looked it up.) Oh yeah, it was based on strange and macabre tales by crossword mainstay SAKI. There was also "Fascinating Aida: Absolutely Miraculous," a trio of ladies doing satirical songs. Some of the humor got lost in the trip across the pond (and a satire about Walmart misfired in Walmart-less Manhattan), but it was pleasant.
Also at 59E59 but not British was Good Bobby
, about RFK. This examined Bobby's political and personal lives, especially his relationship with his father, and was packed with historical facts. Dan Lauria played a canny Jimmy Hoffa.
The Mint Theater, where I recently saw "Friends," often stages older works. I saw S.N. Behrman's 1932 "Biography
," a three-acter about a female artist who is somewhat bohemian (she has scandalous affairs, sometimes with younger men!). Also three acts and even better was "Dr. Knock or the Triumph of Medicine," a dead-on, surprisingly timely 1923 farce about health care and quackery. It was a big hit in France at the time, and this revival got great reviews
Another three-act revival (first performed in 1942) was Noel Coward's "Present Laughter
" starring Victor Garber. This Broadway production was good, but Garber seemed too old to play his 40ish, self-obsessed, womanizing actor character. He was better suited to play an older brother in this week's staged reading of "The Normal Heart
" celebrating the play's 25th anniversary, and benefiting the Actors Fund and Friends in Deed. Reading from scripts, the actors were convincing and moving even with minimal scenery (a wheelchair, a hospital bed, and a backdrop with names of the dead). The superb cast also included our old pal Glenn Close
and Joe Mantello (who mostly works as a director) in the lead. The audience leaped up for a standing ovation, and this time it might have been deserved. But I still never stand
So where was I running off to at the beginning of this post? A screening of "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next" (thank you, NATAS). I haven't read the books or seen the other movies, so I went in cold. The plot was slightly confusing, but I soon got into it. Wow. Somewhat violent, but wow.