Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Scene for September 12th, 2008

We got lucky; Hanna and Ike both passed us by. Since there's no post-storm damage to cleanup, it's time for more theatre!

The Reviews
We start off with the Caldwell Theatre production of Lying in State, first reviewed by Christine Dolen of the Miami Herald. Overall, she enjoyed it:
"...despite the dead spots and flaws in David C. Hyer's script, now and then Lying in State really does get an audience howling with laughter.

Credit director Michael Hall for his canny casting....All seven actors work like demons to keep this flimsy soufflé of a play from collapsing -- and darned if they don't succeed."
But it's not a perfect production, not only does the cast have to overcome a ... limsy... script, there are costuming problems, too; Kim Ostrenko is described as "...trapped in two awful costumes..."

Mary Damian offers up her review of Lying in State for the Sun-Sentinel. Damiano's reviews are getting better, she spends only one brief paragraph reciting the storyline, and actually discusses the performances. Like Christine, Mary finds that the actors are having to overcome a weak script:
"The actors work furiously to mine laughs and keep the action going.

"While Lying in State never reaches the heights of true farce, it is a laugh riot, full of savvy political observations. It's a perfect complement -- or antidote, depending on how you look at it --to the non-stop campaign and convention coverage of this election year"
Finally, the reviews section isn't complete if we don't hear from Brandon K. Thorp, writing this week for the Palm Beach/Broward edition of The New Times. And he had a markedly different experience at the Caldwell:
"Maybe what you're after is some scathing political satire — something topical that'll reveal American politics as the comedy of errors that many claim it is, something to make the horror manageable. Maybe you think Lying in State, which opened last week at the Caldwell, will do nicely. Sorry to add yet more despair to an already desperate moment, but Lying in State will do no such thing. You can't blame the actors, except one, and you can't blame the director, save for producing such a venal giggle of a script in the first place."
No, you don't have to read between the lines to find that Thorp thinks the script is badly flawed; he flat out tells you in no uncertain terms:
"The problem here is conceptual: This is a bluntly lowbrow play that tries to mock the dumbness of politics in a way even the politically dumb can understand. If Lying in State is to be believed, the funniest thing about politicians is that they occasionally frequent hookers... and that they will do anything to win an election. How adroit."
Brandon also believes that the actors' performances are the best thing about this play, but again, he says it as only he can:
"I wanted to weep for the actors involved in this mess — actors who, thanks to a cruel directorial choice, cannot even complete a curtain call without debasing themselves (they take their call while performing a weird little dance involving a coffee can and a conga line, which I'm sure speaks volumes about America's political malaise). None of them walk away with their dignity, even though Angie Radosh, John Felix, and Kim Ostrenko deliver performances that you could almost call inspired if the word could be in any way attached to such a stone-dumb play."
Lying in State runs through September 21 in Boca Raton.

Meanwhile, back at the Miami Herald, Christine Dolen also reviews The Rabbi and the Cheerleader, playing at the Hollywood Playhouse through September 21.
"The result is a largely engaging if somewhat odd amalgam of theater, standup routine, self-help lecture and slide-show confessional."
Radio Golf opened tonight at the Mosaic Theatre. It's the final installment in the late, great August Wilson's 10-play cycle chronicling the black experience in 20th century America. It's one of the picks from the Sun-Sentinel, and Christine Dolen blogged about it recently.

Last Chance to See
Sol Theatre winds up Why We Have A Body ( a show recommended by two out of three critics) on Saturdays September 13th, and Blowing Whistles on Friday September 12th.

New Theatre's production of As You Like It in its intimate space in the shadow of Merrick Place ends this Sunday, September 14th.

The GableStage production of Betrayed also closes this Sunday.

Still Playing
Broward Stage Door Theatre, (The Theater with South Florida's Worst Website for a Professional Theater), is still running both The Convertible Girl and Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? through October 22 and October 5th, respectively.

1 comment:

  1. Why don't you check out the Stage Door Theatre website...? I suspect you'll be pleased with the new look!