In addition to the museums and hot chocolate, we also saw a broadway play It’s Only a Play. It had an all-star cast: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Rupert Grint (of Harry Potter movie fame), Stockard Channing, Megan Mullaly, and F. Murray Abraham. That’s a hell of a cast. So we knew that it was going to be worthwhile to see the play even if the play itself was a dud.
The play is about the opening night party for Matthew Broderick’s character.The playwright really needs the play to be successful. The play centers around the world of the theater, criticism, and second or third chances. It’s a tale about success/failure and friendship. The entire play takes place in the bedroom of his producer. Characters wander in and out of the room, searching for a quiet place to make a phone call, talk to the hostess, etc.
For the most part, the performances were incredible. I was impressed by Megan Mullaly’s character in particular. I was not a fan of hers; I couldn’t stand her in Will and Grace. In this play, she was perfectly cast as the wealthy producer debutant. Normally, her voice irritates me but it worked in this. I bought her character as a lover of the arts but who has the advantage of millions of dollars behind her. She may take the failure to heart but it won’t ruin her life. Rupert Grint was awesome as the critic’s darling director who wants to have a failure. He was off the wall crazy, stealing knick knacks of the hostess, causing general mischief and discomfort. It was fantastic. He was sort of the anti-Ron.
I didn’t love Matthew Broderick’s performance. He seemed so restrained that it seemed as if he wasn’t acting. I don’t know. I understand that he needed to be distinct from the other over the top characters but it seemed so underwhelming. Nathan Lane was fine but I’ve seen him shine in Waiting for Godot. I’m not sure it was the perfect role for him in the way that Rupert Grint and Megan Mullaly worked in their roles. Stockard Channing was fun but I’m not sure I bought her character. F. Murray Abraham worked as the smarmy critic. He’s newer to me but he was in both Inside Llewyn Davis and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I think it worked.
The play itself grated on me. It was a play about theater. I am a little tired of these plays that turn the lens on Broadway. I’ve seen several plays about acting so maybe it’s just fatigue. I generally like works about the creative process but I guess it can get a little self-serving. Also, I think that the recent movie Birdman with Michael Keaton touched on a lot of the same issues but did it in a more clever, interesting way. I wanted more than the play delivered. (Go see Birdman, I think it is one of the best movies of the year).
But the cast was fantastic and for that alone, it’s worthwhile.
That’s all for now!