As you may have read on ScottE’s blog already, we spent the Thanksgiving holiday up around New York City. As is our tradition, we did our best to see some Broadway, and weren’t disappointed.
First we went to see a little off-Broadway show as TheKara’s “out of left field pick.” It was a musical called What’s That Smell?, and it didn’t actually smell like much, but it was a good time. Picture the worst (and gayest) musical composer you can imagine. Now imagine he has the ego of Tom Cruise and is being interviewed by his biggest (if completely misguided) fan on a cable-access talk show about Broadway musicals. That’s about it! Along the way we were treated to a sampling from his illustrious career as a “living American composer,” including his musical rendering of Private Benjamin (“He Died Inside Me”) and a fantasia on shopping malls (best bit – poking fun at Abercrombie & Fitch). When they got to the line about patriotism in another number – “Like an EAGLE with a BOOB JOB…” I was pretty much dying of laughter. Of course the best part of the show was when a technical difficulty delayed the show for a few minutes, but the actors tried to keep us laughing. Sadly this show is already closing by year’s end. If you happen to be near NYC – check it out!
Then we closed the weekend with our long-planned destination – seeing Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a. Harry Potter) in Equus. It’s a play I’ve seen before, and I knew it was powerful and disturbing, but I was still unprepared for how visceral and intense it can get. Radcliffe was very strong, proving that his experience as an actor has come a long way, baby! As for the much-reported nudity – it’s kind of not the point at all. By the time it happens, you’re so drawn into the moment you hardly notice. It’s a violently gripping scene that will stick with you long after the curtain falls.
The strength of this play was actually in the production values – the lighting was par excellence, and the staging matched it very well. One of the most intoxicating aspects is the use of large metal masks that mimic horses’ heads which the “horses” wear, along with high heel “hooves.” They move with dancing grace and immense power. The choreographer in me was in heaven.
Unfortunately the show has a real weak point, which is suprisingly Richard Griffiths. The award winner seemed to be phoning his performance in, giving all the energy of a marble statue. It’s a shame, because his take on the character was refreshing. It was also disappointing to see the wonderful Kate Mulgrew prove that she forgot how to PROJECT in the THEATER so those of us in the BALCONY can hear her. (See, you heard that, didn’t you?)
All in all – a remarkable production – the 3 hours flew by. If you still have the chance to see this before it closes in February (and can get a good deal on tickets), this is well worth your time.
Next up in this space, a review of the film Milk, starring Sean Penn!