Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mrs. Warren's Profession

The Roundabout is at it again.  On Sunday night, the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession (in a prduction running through November 28th, unless it gets extended), opened at the American Airlines Theatre on 42nd Street and the reviews are in.

The New York Times totally panned the show, politely calling it "generally less than delightful" and citing Sally Hawkins as miscast as Vivie Warren, daughter of the title character, with the rest of the supporting cast noted as passable at best.  That being said, however, the Times review thought that Cherry Jones' performance in the lead role "does not nearly glow.  She glitters."  The review went on to say that Ms. Jones "is as illuminating as ever, confirming her reputation as an actress of not only formidable charisma but also meticulous craft."

Variety's review of the show said more or less the same thing, adding, in reference to the set, that "exteriors look unnatural, interiors feel too formal, and there are entirely too many chairs around for characters who are too stimulated by their own racing throughts to be sitting down so much."  Variety also praised Jones' performance, saying that "the stages of her performance are so subtly orchestrated that it's impossible to spot those critical moments when she realizes that things aren't going the way she planned."  But Variety also pointed out the problem with this: Ms. Jones is so good and everything else so week that the production feels unbalanced.

With reviews like this, I actually think I feel bad for Cherry Jones.  She is a well trained, bright, good actress who has clearly put in the effort in this production by all the praise she is getting.  Normally, this would make her a cynch for a Tony nomination (and, depending on how the rest of the competition turns out, even a win).  But the overall production was SO poorly received that those negative reviews may actually loose her that luxury.

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