Friday, October 21, 2011

Relatively Speaking Opens on Broadway

Another production has opened on Broadway last night ... a series of three one-act plays collectively called Relatively Speaking. The production is directed by John Turturo, with one play each by Ethan Coen, Elaine May, and Woody Allen. The cast includes some starry names, including Marlo Thomas, Steve Guttenberg, Mark Linn-Baker, and Julie Kavner.

Variety essentially panned the show, saying that, "if the three one-act plays performed under the omnibus title Relatively Speaking had been written by playwrights named Joe Smith, Jane Doe, and Sid Jones, they'd probably still be making their way through the workshop pipeline at some not-for-profit (and not-too-daring) theater in the West Village." The writing was weak and the acting, directing, and other elements seemed to match. The reviewer, Marilyn Stasio, did, however, give some positive notices to Marlo Thomas, calling her "most winning when [her character] Doreen is most artificial." But that was about as positive a thing as was said in the review.

The New York Times' Charles Isherwood was kinder to the show ... and even enjoyed it well enough. He said that Elaine May's and Woody Allen's contributions were better than Coen's, but that Allen's was probably the best of the three. It must be mentioned, however, that the entire production came across as unruly and frenetic. Isherwood, too, mentioned Marlo Thomas as giving a notable performance, but whereas Variety only gave her a twisted compliment, Isherwood actually calling her "sublime as this fragrant but poisonous powder puff." Though I doubt she'll make the cut, particularly given that I don't have a clear sense of the competition yet, she's on my radar for a supporting actress Tony nomination.

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