Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

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.

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