Friday, April 18, 2008

The Country Girl

Stage chops: you can file them under Use 'Em Or Lose 'Em. I've long considered Morgan Freeman to be among the best actors of our time but his return to the stage (in this Mike Nichols-directed revival of the Odets classic) could be generously described as underwhelming. Three weeks into previews, his performance is so tentative he practically vanishes on stage. I left at intermission. Almost nothing in the first act landed as it was supposed to - Freeman, Peter Gallagher, and Frances McDormand, a mismatched trio of actors if ever there was one, seemed to each be working in a different performance style which made for a numbing non-starter. Nichols was at the back of the house dictating notes, but it's a cinch that "replace the stars" was not one of them.

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