In Brief:
And Arguably Vice Versa

Written by and Starring Tom Dugan
Directed by Jenny Sullivan
Theatre Row
Official Website

Conceived by and Starring
John R. Waters
with Stewart D'Arrietta
Music and Lyrics by
John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Union Square Theatre
Official Website

by David Auburn
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Starring John Hawkes and Tracie Thoms
Manhattan Theatre Club
Official Website

Reviewed by David Spencer

Wiesenthal, which is of course about the famous concentration camp survivor turned hunter of Nazi war criminals, is show among the best one actor/one character/talk-to-the-audience bios I've ever seen, but it's a very decent show nonetheless. Author-actor Tom Dugan (under appropriately invisible direction by Jenny Sullivan) gives us Simon Wiesenthal on his last day in his surprisingly sparse office before retirement. What makes him engaging is that he's portrayed as a charming, sweet old man; wry sense of humor, a little frisky, and altogether too soft spoken to be caught up in the intrigues of catching bad guys. But as he explains, while telling us about his life and career, most of the task involved information-gathering: old-school hands-on-the-material research, hard copy correspondence, a growing worldwide network of contacts and associates—and a lot of phone calls. As an effort in the “we must never forget” category, Wiesenthal is a good and noble one.

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion is perhaps most effectively described as an impressionistic musical biography. Conceiver-creator-star John R. Waters, a longtime show biz notable from Australia, doesn’t resemble John Lennon in the slightest, nor does he really try to tell Lennon’s story, at least not in any linearly narrative way. But via delivering the music of Lennon’s career, punctuated by commentary excerpted and “extrapolated” from Lennon’s own writing, Waters, and his very hip accompanist Stewart D’Arrietta, bring forth an essence of Lennon, on a stage that is mostly dark, save for the pools of light in which the two men operate. Both are highly effective performers, and Lennon: Through a Glass Onion is a nicely moody journey through a career and its catalog.

Lost Lake should do well for playwright David Auburn. The night I attended, it got a very affectionate audience response, and it seems like the kind of play that’s easy for pretty much any theatre company to produce. Like most two character plays, it gives us characters of opposite temperament: Hogan (John Hawkes), an unsteady sort, seemingly benign, yet somehow not too tightly wrapped, who has offered his summer cottage for rent; and Veronica (Tracie Thoms) a widowed African American nurse practitioner, looking for a few weeks’ retreat for herself and her (offstage) kids—who is, if anything, too tightly wrapped. The cottage is in disarray and needing the kind of repairs that would make you wonder why someone as particular as Veronica would actually agree to stay there; but if you allow yourself to make a pact with that little stretch, you then have the premise for the rest, which is the development of a highly unlikely friendship (and only a friendship) that almost dare not speak its name. As performed by the named duo and directed by Daniel Sullivan, who tends to be awfully good at plays in this tonal groove, Lost Lake isn’t a great evening by any means, but a satisfyingly feelgood one nonetheless.

Go to David Spencer's Profile
Return to Home Page

  • Road (National) Tour Review Index
  • New York City & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • Berkshire, Massachusetts Theatre Review Index
  • Boston Area Theatre Review Index
  • Florida Theatre Review Index
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) Theatre Review Index
  • Philadelphia & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Review Index
  • Seattle Area Theatre Review Index
  • Toronto, Ontario (Canada) Index