Friday, November 22, 2013

No Man's Land ***

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
Let me admit up front that I have never found the works of Pinter a good fit for my tastes. That may qualify me as a card-carrying philistine, but I don't find his usual blend of humor, cruelty and obscurantism appealing. While his plays, including this one, offer some wonderful opportunities for actors to show their stuff, the whole usually is less than the sum of its parts, at least for me. It's not so much that I ask myself "What does this mean?" as "Why should I care?" The reason to care about this production is to see two of Britain's finest actors, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, sharing a stage. When the two of them are alone, there is theatrical magic to behold. When the other two characters, played by Shuler Hensley and Billy Crudup, appear, it seemed an intrusion on the magic. Half the time I was entranced and the other half I was bored. On the balance, the chance to see Stewart and McKellen in action outweighed the misgivings I have about the play. Stephen Brimson Lewis designed the atmospheric set and character-appropriate costumes. Sean Mathias directed. Running time: 2 hours, including intermission.

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