Aug 29, 2005
I had no review assignments over the weekend but I still found myself at three shows. Caught the second-to-last performance of Joe Mantello's remarkably clear and scathing Glengarry Glen Ross and was glad I did. I have to say I found Frederick Weller, as the callow young boss John, a bit of a blank, which took some of the sting out the play's final 15 minutes or so. I also noticed something about these moments I'd never felt before: There's a missing, or muddy, transition between Shelley's confession of the break-in and his plea for another chance—a fogginess which stands out all the more given the blinding precision of every other beat in the play. I wonder if Weller's impassive performance might have had something to do with it. As for the justly praised Liev Schreiber, I didn't notice him cutting his nails in Act Two (a much-noted bit of stage business I was told to watch for), but he still nailed Ricky Roma's offhanded, cock-walking pride. And Alan Alda deserves to be on a stage for the rest of this rich new phase of his career. Somebody give him an Arthur Miller play right away.
I was drawn back to the Fringe Fest for The Dirty Talk, Michael Puzzo's lovely odd-couple two-hander, played sharply and movingly by Sidney Williams and Kevin Cristaldi. Despite its LAByrinth Theater Company connection, it didn't get a Times review.
Finally, a friend had tickets to the opening night of the Public's The Two Gentlemen of Verona, in Galt McDermot's groovy musical version from 1971. It took me about a half hour of bewildered acclimation, but I was eventually disarmed by the exuberance and shamelessness of Kathleen Marshall's production, by John Guare's daffy-like-a-fox lyrics, and by McDermot's piñata full of ear candy. Most striking was how much like a genuine time warp it felt, right down to the makeup and hair, the choreography and brass arrangements (which Ben Brantley aptly pegged as Herb Alpert-ish); rather than a too-hip retro nostalgia piece, this played as a perfectly out-of-fashion recreation of a Laugh-In-era artifact, and was all the more appealing for it.
Posted by Rob Weinert-Kendt at 2:22 PM