Friday, May 22, 2009

The Philanthropist

photo: Joan Marcus

The main character in Christopher Hamtopn's bone-dry comedy of manners is the bookish sort who is alienated from most people and who comes most alive playing with anagrams - in order words, he's British and dated by about four decades. As played by Matthew Broderick, miscast and struggling to convince as a Bit, he practically vanishes into thin air on stage, especially during the more static scenes (directed by David Grindley) where it is essential that we feel some gravity from the actors. Another American, Steven Weber, fares better in Anglo mode, but it's an uphill battle when one can see bona fide Brits in The Norman Conquests just a few blocks north.

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