Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beauty or the Beast?

I never thought I'd be happy about mixed reviews, but after some dismal reviews of late for play revivals on Broadway this year (Mrs. Warren's Profession and A Life in the Theatre come to mind), it is nice to finally see a review that doesn't entirely bash the production.  A revival of David Hirson's La Bete opened Thursday night at the Music Box Theatre on Thursday in a production starring Tony winners David Hyde Pierce and Mark Rylance, along with TV star Joanna Lumley (Britain's Absolutely Fabulous) in her Broadway debut.  Though the play itself was criticized for being unbalanced in the way it was written, Mark Rylance gives, in the words of Ben Brantley, "a comic performance of such polished crudeness that it easily ranks with his Tony-winning tour-de-force in Boeing-Boeing of two years ago."  (Note the Tony nomination prediction Rylance has gotten out of this quote.)  Though the script has been drawn into question, the production has not.  To quote Brantley again, "this revival [has been] mounted with eye-popping elan by [director] Matthew Warchus and the [set] designer Mark Thompson."  Based on these reviews, I'm seeing a clear best actor nomination for Rylance and a best director nomination for Warchus, along with highly likely nominations as best revival and set design.  Joanna Lumley, David Hyde Pierce, and the other design nominations are too hard to call right now, but they definitely are not out of the game.

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