Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Common Pursuit **

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
I would be curious to know why director Moises Kaufman, known for his superb work on landmark plays like Gross Indecency, The Laramie Project and I Am My Own Wife, was drawn to one of Simon Gray's lesser plays. In any case, he has no magic tricks up his sleeve for this Roundabout production at the Laura Pels. The oft-told tale of idealistic youth, in this case six students at Cambridge setting out to publish a literary magazine, gradually losing their ideals to compromise and betrayal is not told particularly well. While I have nothing against talky plays as long as the dialog is interesting, little of it sparkles here. The competent American cast (Kristen Bush, Kieran Campion, Josh Cooke, Jacob Fishel, Tim McGeever and Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) manage their Oxbridge accents fairly well but the effort shows, particularly early on. The characters are not portrayed with sufficient vividness for the audience to care very much what happens to them. Perhaps that is why at least 10% of the audience did not return after intermission. By the time the play finally springs to life halfway through the second act, it is too little too late. Derek McLane's set is quite attractive and Clint Ramos' costumes are evocative. Running time: 2 hours, 25 minutes including intermission.

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