Director David Cromer proved yet again his instincts are right on target with his touching revival of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, the playwright’s semi-autobiographical elegy to growing up poor but surviving among a large, close-knit, determined Jewish family in Depression era 1930s. From our fifteen year old hero (Noah Robbins) and his older brother (Santiano Fontano) to their parents (Laurie Metcalf, Dennis Boutsikaris) and extended family (Jessica Hecht, Alexandra Socha, Grace Bea Lawrence), every role was impeccably cast and shaded; John Lee Beatty’s two story set added perfect period poignancy, and by a few degrees, this production even topped Gene Saks’ original for nuance and depth of feeling. That it closed due to weak ticket sales is simply heartbreaking.
After Miss Julie,
dramatist Patrick Marber
relocates Strindberg’s steamy
play, where sensuality clashes with class system, from a country manor in 1874
Sweden to an estate in 1945 England. It’s a clever transposition, but the
metaphor doesn’t bear the weight of the purple overwriting Marber tries to
update, nor—arguably—of historical accuracy, given social change
that was by then charging to the forefront of 20th Century society.
And under the journeyman direction of Mark Brokaw, the essential sexual triangle (Sienna Miller, Johnny Miller, Marin Ireland) seems curiously under-charged.
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