Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Lying Lesson *

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
The publicity for Craig Lucas's new play at the Atlantic Theater bills it as a "comic thriller." Alas, it is neither amusing nor thrilling. This strange two-character play imagines an 1981 episode in which Bette Davis, in her early 70's, returns to a coastal Maine town where she had summered in her teens to buy a house and rekindle her acquaintance with her former heartthrob. Shortly after her arrival, she meets a young local woman who attempts to make herself indispensable. Carol Kane looks amazingly like Davis, especially in Ilona Somogyi's great costumes, but, when she opens her mouth, the illusion is shattered. I am sure there are still bars in Manhattan where any patron picked at random can do a more convincing Bette Davis. Mickey Sumner, lean and lanky, is convincing as the mysterious young woman, except when her down-East accent slips. The plot, such as it is, revolves around discovering her identity and motivation. Neil Patel seems off his stride with a set in drab shades of beige. Even director Pam MacKinnon, who did so well with "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and "Clybourne Park,"can't make a silk purse out of this. Running time: two hours, ten minutes including intermission.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alas, I completely agree. I could not stand the Betty Davis rendition that Carol Kane did and had trouble understanding Mickey Sumner's dialogue. My interest was lost very early into the first act.
Linda Lusskin