I was going to skip reviewing GOD LOOKED AWAY, the dreadful new show about the last Opening Night in Tennessee Williams’ career, but since there is fresh talk of transferring it to Broadway, I must speak up.
PLEASE DO NOT MOVE THIS SHOW.
It is painfully dull and frivolous. It is written by Dotson Rader, one of Tennessee’s real-life lovers, whose greatest writing achievement to date is in Parade Magazine. And that is the level of verbal finesse you get in this weak, soggy play. Scenes have little shape and the dialogue just wanders. A crucial moment is thrown away in a phone call. Too much time is spent on a rivalry between two “himbos.” You never get to see the acid wit or lyric soul or creative brilliance of Tennessee Williams, just his lasciviousness.
Al Pacino wrestles with a southern accent and loses. He doesn’t even try to get Tennessee’s mannerisms. The usually exquisite Judith Light doesn’t enter till the second Act and then she is woefully underused. Please, let’s not waste any more time with this dreck.
946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS details a fatal WWII military maneuver, as told thru the eyes of a young girl when her cat gets lost behind enemy lines in England. It is brought to St. Ann’s Warehouse by the British Theatre Company Kneehigh, based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, the author of WAR HORSE.
Whimsy, Young Adult novels, War Time allegories, an adult playing a child and a puppet playing a cat…you can hear me yelling for a cab already. However, I was brought to this delightful (yes, I said DELIGHTFUL) show by a woman with an old soul and a young heart. It came at a time when I was just getting over an illness and it entertained and restored me.
The onstage band plays folk songs and big band tunes, there is even some Swing dancing. The story has its dark moments and packs an emotional wallop. The Set is stunning and Katy Owen is a wonderfully cantankerous and physically nimble heroine. Currently playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse and out on tour to a town near you, 946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS can be enjoyed by all ages, even jaded adults.
St. Ann’s Warehouse Site
Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of Moby Dick currently running at South Coast Rep in California. Photo by Liz Lauren.
The Lookingglass Theatre Company’s MOBY DICK is spectacular, dazzling and at times, lethargic. This may seem contradictory, but the show is beautiful and amazing in its embodiment of the grand spectacle of the story, but it has not done as well with maintaining the tension in the action. The plot feels sluggish and episodic, which is odd since it is based on one of the most notorious “hunts” in fiction.
Adapted and Directed by David Catlin who is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre (they won the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award), the company is known for a style of performance that is a cross between Story Theatre and Circus Arts. Imagine Nicholas Nickleby on trapeze.
Christopher Donahue’s Ahab is dynamic and menacing, Anthony Fleming III is a delightful Queequeg and Jamie Abelson is fittingly downtrodden as Ishmael. A chorus of three women in big black hoop skirts and parasols sing/chant the author’s narration and portray characters, whales and even “Fate.” There are aerial acrobatics, large swings and giant pieces of silk. It is definitely worth seeing this production for the amazing spectacle, I just wish the dramatic storytelling was a bit more compelling.
A clip from the show