Monday, August 15, 2011

Bluebird **

Don't be brokenhearted if you weren't able to get tickets to see Simon Russell Beale in Simon Stephens' 1998 play, now in a sold-out run at Atlantic Stage 2. While Beale is fine as Jimmy, a taxi driver to whom fares seem compelled to unburden themselves, the play itself is a mixed blessing. Some of the passengers' stories are involving, but others misfire. A long scene between Jimmy and his estranged wife Clare (the excellent Mary McCann) is a bit contrived and unconvincing. The cast also includes Kate Blumberg, Michael Countryman, Mara Measor, Charlotte Parry, Tobias Segal, John Sharian and Todd Weeks. The pokey direction by Gaye Taylor Upchurch has more pregnant pauses than a Pinter play. The lighting by Ben Stanton attempts to suggest movement through traffic at night, but the flickering was a distraction. Incidentally, the title comes from the name of a small car popular as a London minicab. Running time: 110 minutes without intermission.

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