Photo by Don Kellogg

Friday, September 23, 2011

Man and Boy

Ironic that just two days ago I saw a another off-Broadway play in which a wealthy wall-street type was driven to self-destruction.  The plot was certainly a different time and place but essentially a similar tale.  Man and Boy is one of playwright, Terence Rattigan's, early successes in the 1960's and rings as true, if not more-so, today.

Taking the helm at the American Airlines Theatre in the Roundabout Theater Company's revival is the consummate, Tony award winning actor, Frank Langella (Gregor Antonescu - i.e. "man").  Adeptly supporting him is the always dashing and polished Adam Driver (Basil Anthony - i.e. "boy").   Supporting ensemble cast members include Michael Siberry (Sven Johnson), Virginia Kull (Carol Penn), Zach Grenier (Mark Herries), Brian Hutchinson (David Beeston), and Francesca Faridany (Countess Antonescu).

The plot follows an approximately continuous 2 hour timeline in the Autumn of 1934 in the basement apartment in Greenwich Village of Basil Anthony, whom we quickly come to learn is the estranged son of international financier and power broker Greor Antonescu .  We quickly come to learn why Basil has fled his family 5 years ago and through a series of cold and calculated maneuvers, why his brilliant and domineering father may just be the world's most callus and wanted financial crook the world has ever seen.

Mr. Langella commands the stage with every breath and step.  Mr. Driver embodies the ethos of a 1930's young American socialist while at the same time cannot make the emotional break from his dirty dealing father.  The entire cast brilliantly supports the two leads.  Of special note is the comedic relief provided by the accountant, David Beetson (Mr. Hutchinson) and the steadfast dedication Sven Johnson (Mr. Siberry), personal assistant to Mr. Antonescu.

Man and Boy may take place during the 1930's depression era but is as relevant today as it ever was.  With the recent echos of Enron and Bernard Madoff not far behind us - this play hits as close, if not closer to home, in these currently difficult global and economic times.