In Martin Crimp’s translation of Molière’s The Misanthrope — which transposes the action and plot from the 17th century to the present — the central story is so utterly hit or miss that it’s no wonder the reviews of the latest production at the Comedy Theatre in London have been either raves or, more commonly, total pans. “People speak highly of a pile of shit if they get dressed up and paid fifty quid to see it,” says Alceste, the show’s protagonist, and there’s so much truth in that, it got the biggest laugh of the evening. It’s not, however, true of this particular show. While The Misanthrope certainly has its flaws, its two stars manage to save it from mediocrity.
Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category
When Parade first appeared on stage in 1999, it was a short-lived production, but one which managed to take home two Tony awards. It seems unlikely that this new rendition at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum will do anything to soften the stark contrast between critical acclaim and uncertainty from the theater-going public; its subject matter remains divisive, certainly not what anyone seeking the feel good pleasure of a musical comedy should choose to see, and it’s difficult to be entirely certain just what it is the audience is meant to leave feeling, beyond extraordinarily unsettled.
Yet extraordinary is exactly what this production is. With its all-star cast, deft direction from Rob Ashford and the intimate setting the Taper provides, this new Parade is at once compelling and unnerving, in no small part because of T.R. Knight, making his return to theater with a bravura performance as Leo Frank.