Oct 4, 2010

Left Cold by Brits

photo by Tristram Kenton
As an inveterate Anglophile weaned on Doctor Who, the Pythons, and Merchant Ivory, I still found last week's Broadway season openers, Brief Encounter and The Pitmen Painters, impressive but largely unsatisfying. The first is an alternately lavish and impish production of a very attenuated romance that wears out its narrative welcome pretty quickly, despite some moments of pure theater magic involving a ukulele and an overturned rowboat; the latter, despite the efforts of a lovely ensemble cast, falls into the dodgy genre of art-as-vehicle-of-social-uplift. I'm often a sucker for this kind of story when it involves a backstage, let's-put-on-a-show element (like Lee Hall's other Broadway show), but I find it insufferable when it features characters who are walking mouthpieces for half-baked ideas about the meaning of "art"--a noun which should almost never be the named subject of any play.

In short, these two new offerings, if not quite the dog's breakfast, aren't exactly the dog's dinner, either.

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