Monday, March 26, 2018

Weekly Margin, 2018 W12: My Fair Lady, Harry Clarke, Grand Hotel, Julius Caesar

3/20/18: My Fair Lady
What: Bartlett Sher/Lincoln Center's lush revival of the Lerner & Loewe classic, about flower seller Eliza Doolittle, who takes dialect lessons with phonetic expert Henry Higgins, so she may earn a better living in a more refined environment. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.
And? It's fine; neither definitive nor disgraceful. Lauren Ambrose has great presence and charm. Fuller review/defense of the show's merit here.

3/22/18: Harry Clarke
What: David Cale's one-man show starring Billy Crudup in an encore run after its stint at Vineyard. A shy midwestern man creates an alter ego, London-born Harry Clarke, insinuating himself into the life and family of a man he randomly sees on the street.
And? There's a lot to admire here. The noir of it all is satisfying, the writing is tightly structured, and Billy Crudup is absolutely wonderful at transforming himself physically and vocally among all the characters (and among Philip's various personae). I will admit that I am bothered that the narrative is playing into some unfortunate stigmatizing tropes about queer people and about mental illness. I don't think it's deliberate stigmatization, but it's there.

Billy Crudup. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

3/23/18: Encores!: Grand Hotel
What: Encores! presents a concert staging of 1989's musical adaptation of a 1929 novel and 1932 film about various eccentric guests staying at the titular Grand Hotel in Berlin in the roaring '20s.
And? Great cast, top to bottom, and excellent staging (a concert in name only), but the story beats didn't make a lot of sense to me. Not my favorite show.

Foreground: Guadalupe Garcia and Junior Cervila as
the tango dancers, The Countess and The Gigolo.
Background, upper level: William Ryall and Natascia Diaz as
Colonel Doctor Otternschlag and Raffaela Ottannio;
lower level: Brandon Uranowitz and Helene Yorke as
Otto Kringelein and Flaemmchen. Photo by Joan Marcus.

3/25/18: National Theatre Live: Julius Caesar
What: National Theatre Live broadcast of their production of Julius Caesar.
And? I'd seen that there were some Trump presidency-inspired influences in the concept, and was geared up for echoes of what the Public Theatre's production did, but it was really only there at the beginning. The cast was good, and I liked the pivoting of the scholarly Brutus against the athletic Mark Antony. Embracing the fact that this is a play where what matters is the sway of public opinion, the set was a series of platforms that would raise and lower amid a teeming crowd of groundlings, so that danger or validation was always just a few steps away.

David Morrissey and Ben Whishaw as Mark Antony and Brutus. Photo by
Manuel Harlan.

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