It’s Friday, and time once again for my weekly Wall Street Journal drama-column teaser. This time around I comment on three shows, one out of town (Paper Mill Playhouse’s revival of Hello, Dolly!, starring Tovah Feldshuh), one local (Second Stage’s The Water’s Edge), and one
from out of town (Boston’s Actors’ Shakespeare Project production of King Lear, now playing at the Annex at La MaMa). The verdicts? Mixed, mostly unfavorable, and wildly enthusiastic:
If you warm to the notion of a no-nonsense Dolly whose singing is efficient and uningratiating, Mrs. Feldshuh will no doubt delight you, but I found her over-earnest performance to be painfully charmless.
Paper Mill’s production, directed by Mark S. Hoebee, is in most other respects quite agreeable, and Mia Michaels’ choreography is especially pleasing. For me, the real problem is not Ms. Feldshuh but the show itself, which is dated in all the wrong ways….
Is it ever a good idea for contemporary playwrights to emulate the Greeks? I have my doubts after seeing “The Water’s Edge,” in which Theresa Rebeck, the author of “Bad Dates,” takes an up-to-the-minute plot about divorce and its discontents and gives it a tragic (and bloody) second-act twist. Up to that point things hum along pretty nicely, but no sooner does Ms. Rebeck start to confuse herself with Aeschylus than her not-uninteresting play explodes in mid-air, disintegrating into a thick black cloud of inadvertent comedy….
Sometimes lightning does strike twice. Boston’s Actors’ Shakespeare Project has brought its tremendous production of “King Lear,” which I saw last October, to New York, where it looks just as good–better, even….
No link, so please feel free to read the whole thing by purchasing a copy of Friday’s Journal at your local newsstand. Alternatively, you can always go here to subscribe to the Online Journal, which will give you immediate access to the full text of my review, plus other reviews and art-related stories.