Sunday, February 25, 2007

Prelude To A Kiss

photo: Joan Marcus

If you saw the original Broadway production of this sweet little comedy in 1990 as I did, with sensitive Timothy Hutton and quirky-loveable Mary Louise Parker ideally cast as the romantic leads, it's a good bet you'll be stunned at the charmlessness of the first act of this revival. Alan Tudyk and Anne Parisse aren't asked to bring much more than toothpaste smiles and personality-free earnestness to the roles now, and without a convincingly tender romance for the audience to invest in, the first act is a bland snooze. It isn't only their fault - the usually top-notch Daniel Sullivan has directed with a pronounced lack of imagination, letting crickets chirp where laughs used to be. Even Santo Loquasto's set looks second-rate, like someone built it based on a description over the phone. It isn't until the final scene of the first act, when John Mahoney shows up as the mysterious stranger at the couple's wedding with the magical kiss that sets up the more sentimental second act, that this revival has any spark. Mahoney's performance is touching without being maudlin, and along with the good work from the supporting cast, it's enough for this production to (barely) get by. Second acters, take note.

Also blogged by: [David] [Christopher]

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