Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Month: November 2014

Film Note | The Theory of Everything (2014) | With Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones | Directed by James Marshal

The Theory of Everything is a “must see” but not a “rave.”

The true story of physicist Stephen Hawking is powerful and inspiring:  he has overcome gruesome physical obstacles and beat seemingly impossible odds to lead a productive and creative career as a physicist, while enjoying a rich personal life and having three children. And Eddie Redmayne’s characterization of Hawking, a man brutally robbed by illness of motor control and speech, is beyond belief great. The disease that felled Hawking as a young man in college is ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Lou Gherig’s disease: at the time he was stricken he was told he had two years to live but he’s alive today and in his early 70’s (which made me wonder about the diagnosis although I’m sure he’s been tested and re-tested and they must know).

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Broadway Review | You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman | With James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne | Directed by Scott Ellis | Longacre Theatre

Living in a townhouse on the upper west side of NYC is a wacky but lovable family  guided by the idea that life is to be enjoyed and gaining money shouldn’t be a focus because, after all, you can’t take it with you:  everyone should freely do their own thing  — and so they do, with very funny results.

Grandpa Martin Vanderhof attends commencements, his daughter Penny writes plays about monasteries and sex slaves while her husband Paul and friend build fireworks in the basement, as granddaughter Essie earnestly practices ballet and so it goes, with other emphatic personalities who find themselves part of the household.

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Danielle Slavick and Stephen Barker Turner. Photo Hunter Canning.

Review | I See You by Kate Robin | Directed by Jim Simpson | Flea Theater

Danielle Slavick and Stephen Barker Turner. Photo Hunter Canning.
Danielle Slavick and Stephen Barker Turner. Photo Hunter Canning.

This play is a compendium of current topical concerns about the environment, junk food and junk in our food, etc., built around a romance between a man and a woman, each with children and each married to someone else.

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Review | Major Barbara | Written by Bernard Shaw in 1905 | Directed by David Staller | Gingold Theatrical Group / Pearl Theatre Company

 … which side was it you said you’re on? …

The audience — myself included — stood and applauded with pleasure at the end of Major Barbara, but the applause was more for the laughter and sheer theatrical delight that came earlier in the play than for the confusing ending.  First, toward the end, you think you’re missing something and then you realize it’s not quite making sense.  No fault of the performers who were perfect throughout, but Shaw just did not fully resolve this play.  But he gives you much to enjoy and think about. 

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Review | Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3, by Suzan-Lori Parks | Directed by Jo Bonney | American Repertory Theater | Public Theater

… when Emancipation was proclaimed … 

The master of a modest sized Texas plantation has been called to fight for the Confederates and wants his slave, Hero, to come along, promising he’ll free Hero when it’s over, a promise the master has reneged on previously.  Will he follow the master to war on what he knows is the wrong side, chasing the carrot of his personal freedom?  Or will he stay back on the plantation and remain a slave?  The master has given Hero the choice.

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