Monday, May 25, 2015

Pre-Brangelina 'Royal Family' Sends Up Golden Age Stars: Review by John Simon (**1/2)

Despite some funny bits, Kaufman had not yet reached the height of his comic gifts. So we get rather more competence than magnificence.

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Lame Duck Lane Bests Turkeys in Mamet's New Farce: John Simon

A comedy and its production score a joint bull's-eye, and for a couple of hours on Broadway, all is well with the world.

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Lynn Redgrave Takes on God, Islam in 'Grace': Jeremy Gerard

The show begins and ends with Grace participating in an electronic experiment to simulate the experience of spirituality. The experiment is as misguided as the wannabe-Shaw play itself.

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Off-Broadway Goes Bollywood With Kooks in 'Rafta': John Simon

Scott Elliott has directed with his customary know-how, but, finally, there is something amiss when the flushing of a toilet comes almost louder and faster than the bona fide laugh lines.

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Iraq Tragedy, Guitar Shrieks, Mad Miracles: Avignon Festival Review by Jorg von Uthmann

Doctoral candidates in literary history should explore a new, fertile ground for their theses -- the impact of the Iraq war on U.S. and European theater.

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'Grease' Revival to Close After 554 Performances on Broadway By Philip Boroff

Producers of "Grease" announced that their 1950s-era musical will close on Jan. 4, the ninth Broadway show scheduled to fold next month.

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Audra McDonald Brings Heat to '110 in the Shade': John Simon

Hottest of all may be the Lizzie of Audra McDonald. Not hitherto her fan, I was completely won over.

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Frankie Valli and His 'Boys' Hit London: Warwick Thompson

Nostalgia buffs will find plenty to enjoy. Those in search of a developed drama had best avoid this show.

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Ashanti's Dorothy, Nigel's Toto Ease Into New 'Wiz': John Simon

The show gets, and deserves, a slightly longer run than the usual Encores! airing (and Broadway may follow), as this is truly a show for all ages and all imaginable audiences.

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Lansbury, Seldes Have Devil of a Time in 'Deuce': John Simon

As a lesson in acting (other than the annoying Joanna P. Adler as the female commentator), this is a boon to theatrical aspirants. For the rest of us, it is slim pickings.

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Walton's Head Sings in Toothless 'Walmartopia': John Simon

The show presumes to be satire. But true satire needs sharper writing and catchier music. "Walmartopia" may have tongue in cheek; what it lacks is teeth in mouth.

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Rosie Perez Sparks Slapstick 'Ritz'; Nude 'Electra': John Simon

Not even some fireworks from Rosie Perez, in her Broadway debut, can make this play seem fresh, let alone funny.

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