(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
If you never saw the film or the revival with Cherry Jones, you might enjoy the current Broadway production of Ruth and August Goetz's adaptation of Henry James's Washington Square. But if you did see either one, you may well be disappointed in this uneven production starring Jessica Chastain, David Strathairn and Dan Stevens, directed by Moises Kaufman. Chastain's take on Catherine Sloper as pathologically shy, yet frisky, in the early scenes is an interesting but questionable choice. Her performance strengthened in the second half. Strathairn, whom I have greatly admired in the past, seemed distracted and bored here. Stevens cut a fine figure and effectively conveyed the ambiguity of his character. The most commanding presence onstage was Judith Ivey as the well-meaning meddling aunt. I could not grasp what Kaufman was aiming for; too often he appeared to be going for easy laughs. There was too much declaiming and too little communicating. The production just didn't seem to cohere. Derek McLane's imposing set and Albert Wolsky's sumptuous costumes were excellent. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes including intermission.