Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Look Back In Anger

John Osborne's 1956 play, Look Back in Anger, has been staged in London on the West End and subsequently on Broadway - both to a rather cool, if not frigid reception.  Movie versions were made in 1959, 1980, and 1989.  Acting and terrific performances aside this go-round, most of the critics historically were mostly unhappy with the story itself.  Although I stayed the entire 2 hours and 30 minutes this time around, the play still only warranted about 90 of them.

The play is truly a 4-some ensemble.  Matthew Rhys, the handsome and familiar Welsh actor from television's Brothers & Sisters, Adam Driver, a familiar Roundabout Theatre player , Sarah Goldberg and Charlotte Parry all handily carried their roles and graced the tiny sliver of stage they were allotted by director, Sam Gold, with power, grace, and presence - the only trouble really being the overly drawn-out material by Mr. Osborne.  Mr. Gold's choices in lighting, and the use of the "off-stage" area were innovative.  And Mr. Rhys' trumpet playing skills were certainly put to good use.

At an off-Broadway ticket price the cast is certainly worth seeing, but I highly recommend you get a cup of coffee at Starbucks around the corner before entering the theatre.  You're likely to need a double to get through the fine performances of this dirge.