Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Tag: J. R. Sullivan

Review | This Side of Neverland, Rosalind and The Twelve Pound Look | Two One-Act Plays by J. M. Barrie | Directed by J. R. Sullivan | Pearl Theatre Company

… beyond Peter Pan …

Best known now for Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie was a popular playwright in early 20th-century London and here’s a chance to see two of his witty and enjoyable comedies — about grown-ups.

The first of these, Rosalind, is a real gem.  A beautiful, popular actress has donned a shapeless housedress and floppy slippers, and lets her hair go, holed up in a rural boarding house where she takes on the persona of her own mother just to get away from it all, to find respite from her frenetic London life where she’s relentlessly the center of attention.

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Review | A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill | Directed by J. R. Sullivan | Pearl Theatre Company

A Moon for the Misbegotten is a tense, character driven play that demands  great acting and this excellent production provides it:  Kim Martin-Cotton is as fine an actress as I’ve seen anywhere and she makes the role of the tough-on-the-outside farm girl, Josie Hogan, come alive.

The play, written in 1943, takes us back to a 1923 farmhouse.  Like O’Neill’s earlier play, Beyond the Horizon, currently Irish Repertory Theater, this, too, is about trying to hold on to the farm.  Josie and her father Phil Hogan, are tenant farmers, and their landlord, James Tyrone, Jr., is a local boy who made it in the big city as an actor, and whose self-weary, drunken lack of self-respect leads him to mock his own success.  Josie’s in love with Tyrone, but hides it behind a cynical, sluttish affect.  He claims, in an affected, stentorian way, to love her, but she doesn’t believe a word, comparing her big farm girl self to the dainty women she figures he knows in the city.

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Review | Charles Dickens’ Hard Times | Adapted by Stephen Jeffreys | Directed by J. R. Sullivan | Pearl Theatre Company

Dickens wrote a play?  How interesting, I want to see this?  I thought, learning about the Pearl Theatre’s presentation of Hard Times,  and too intrigued to bother to read further.  But Dickens didn’t write this play* — it’s an adaptation by Stephen Jeffreys from Dickens’ novel Hard Times as I learned when I focused in.  The acting in the Pearl’s production is marvelous, and there are flashes of interest extracted from Dickens but the play is diffuse and comes across as overlong, hinting at its origin in a book that was written to be read gradually — serialized over many weeks. 

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Review | Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge | Directed by J. R. Sullivan | Pearl Theatre Company

… not all ‘classics’ are classic …

J. M. Synge’s Playboy of the Western World is an overrated classic. It’s a well constructed play hinging on a preposterous idea: that an entire isolated Irish village, particularly the women, would become totally infatuated with a young man who appears suddenly among them because, according to him, he killed his father in an act of rage. It doesn’t hold water.

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Review | Twelfth Night (or What You Will) by William Shakespeare | Directed by J. R. Sullivan | Pearl Theatre Company

…. Let’s Hear it for Malvolio …

If you are collecting “life Shakespeare plays” the way birdwatchers collect “life birds,” here’s a chance to add Twelfth Night.  The stage is large in comparison with the audience space — not a bad seat in the house — and the actors all have good diction so you’ll catch every word, though perhaps not the fullness of the poetry.

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