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Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter and Nicholas Hytner: Balancing Acts

January 14, 2018

Nicholas Hytner’s vivid accounts of two striking interactions with Harold Pinter are the standout highlights from his memoir, "Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at London's National Theatre." These revealing episodes will thrill devotees of the great and temperamental playwright. [more]

Appreciation of Peter Hall by Stephen Unwin

September 25, 2017

This was a man who loved words, the exact turn of the phrase, its cadence and where the stress falls, whether in Shakespeare or Pinter, Beckett or Stoppard, and his commitment to the nuance of language lay at the heart of everything he did. He used to tell a story about working with Dustin Hoffman on The Merchant of Venice and being delighted when Dustin turned up to rehearsal one morning declaring that ‘you can’t improvise this shit’. For Peter, the detail of the language was everything. A young director mocked him as an ‘iambic fundamentalist’: Peter was thrilled. Words, words, words were everything. [more]

Entertaining Mr. Sloane

May 8, 2017

That this production has such an ideal Sloane puts it into the stratosphere.  With his sculpted physique, prevalent musculature and chiseled features that recall the young Malcolm MacDowell (who played the role in a 1975 London revival), Matt Baguth is mesmerizing.  Speaking in a whispery, low, lightly accented voice, Mr. Baguth commands attention.  Whether wearing Mod clothing or encased in black leather, and a tight white T-shirt, Baguth vividly captures the predatory nature of this youthful interloper with sly conviction. [more]

Old Times

November 28, 2016

Besides guiding these engaging performances, director Christopher Martin has meticulously staged the action on the arresting minimalist set that he designed. The floor and brick walls are white. There is a small black rug on the floor near the two plush black cube chairs. Red leaves are strewn about and there’s a pile of them as well. In view are the theater’s windows, an air conditioner and a shelf with a coffee service and drinks. [more]

Old Times

October 13, 2015

The production includes the Broadway debuts of British screen and television stars Clive Owen and Kelly Reilly, and a return of British stage star Eve Best after her Tony Award nominated performance in the 1908 revival of Pinter’s "The Homecoming." Unfortunately, to some extent they are appearing in three different plays so different are their acting styles. Even Constance Hoffman’s costumes take your mind away from the play before you. A pity actually as "Old Times" has not been seen in New York since the Roundabout’s Off Broadway revival which ran from 1983-84 but had an odd combination of American and British actors of film and stage. [more]

Between Riverside and Crazy

August 1, 2014

This breakfast chat is in the opening of scene of Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Guirgis. In a series of plays that include Our Lady of 121st Street, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train and The Motherf***er with the Hat, Mr. Guirgis has become known for affectionately dramatizing the lives of passionate, off beat, New York City characters with inimitably colorful dialogue. [more]

The Killer

June 11, 2014

Much of the work of the play is left to the smoke and lights added by the designers but these elements fail to create mood on TFANA's stage. Matthew Richards' lighting is suitable without becoming a real character in the play even when the scenes are performed on a bare stage. The off-stage noises created by sound designer Jane Shaw don't go far enough as Ionesco intended them to fill the stage with the off-stage crowds, locales and events that we don't see. [more]