In today’s Wall Street Journal I review a pair of newish plays in which two screen stars make their Broadway debuts, Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman (with Uma Thurman) and Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower (with Amy Schumer). Both are mediocre. Here’s an excerpt.
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When not hinting about what she’d like to do to Harvey Weinstein, Uma Thurman has been rehearsing for her Broadway debut. To be sure, Ms. Thurman hasn’t set foot on a stage since her ill-received performance in Classic Stage Company’s 1999 production of “The Misanthrope,” but that’s not stopping the producers of the Broadway premiere of Beau Willimon’s “The Parisian Woman” from charging $260 a pop for the privilege of seeing her in the flesh.
Mr. Willimon is also a Broadway debutant with a high-profile resumé (he created the Netflix version of “House of Cards”). Not at all surprisingly, his new play, like that series, is a weightlessly slick piece of politics-flavored confectionery set in Washington in which Ms. Thurman plays the sexy spouse of an ambitious tax lawyer who longs to be appointed to a judgeship by President You-Know-Who….
If that’s your game, then “The Parisian Woman” will be your huckleberry, but it bored me to the point of squirming in my seat, packed as it is with boo-hiss-cheer lines so predictable that I caught myself mouthing some of the comebacks a half-beat ahead of the actors. As for Ms. Thurman, her performance is technically competent but devoid of the red-hot star quality that suffuses her screen performances. Whatever it is that made her famous is evidently visible through a lens or not at all….
It hardly seems worth bothering to review “Meteor Shower”: Steve Martin wrote it, Amy Schumer is starring in it, their fans are already standing on each other’s shoulders to buy tickets, and nothing I could possibly say or do will dissuade any of them from ponying up premium prices to participate in a collective act of celebrity worship.
Be that as it may, a job’s a job, so here goes nothing: Mr. Martin isn’t a bad playwright, but he isn’t a good one, either, and “Meteor Shower,” a pseudo-surrealistic four-hander about two married couples who get together to watch a meteor shower and spend the evening at one another’s throats, is no more than very mildly amusing….
Ms. Schumer plays herself well and has no trouble projecting her lines without amplification—neither of which can be taken for granted when TV stars decide to get their Broadway cards punched….
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To read my review of The Parisian Woman, go here.
To read my review of Meteor Shower, go here.