Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Glass Menagerie ***

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
Whenever the critics seem to be competing to see who can lavish the most praise on a play, I begin to worry that I am being set up for disappointment. To some extent, that is the case here. While I will grant that the current Broadway version of Tennessee Williams' iconic early masterpiece, under the direction of John Tiffany,  has an intelligent unified vision, I do not think that it is a definitive version for the ages. Bob Crowley's symbolic set emphasizing the isolation from reality of the Wingfields' apartment is an interesting choice. Nico Muhly's incidental music is quietly evocative. Steven Hoggett's stylized movement design seemed more often a distraction than an asset. Crowley's costumes for the women seemed off -- Amanda's gown in the last act seemed better suited to Miss Havisham. To my surprise, the main disappointment for me was Cherry Jones as Amanda. I found her monotonously strident and lacking any trace of vulnerability in the early scenes. Zachary Quinto made a fine Tom. The scene between Laura (Celia Keenan-Bolger) and the gentleman caller (Brian J. Smith) was beautifully rendered. I feel like Scrooge, but I can't honestly say that I was swept away by this production. I liked it, but I didn't love it. Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes including intermission.

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