Friday, March 12, 2010

God of Carnage

photo: Walter McBride

The newish ensemble that just took over Yasmina Reza's Tony-winning smash--Janet McTeer (the original London Veronica), Jeff Daniels (the original Broadway Alan, now playing Michael), Lucy Liu and Dylan Baker--is easily the finest cast the show has seen yet. As a group they completely click, and each actor gives a near-perfect individual performance. The problem with this is that watching the play filtered through the energy and vitality of this updated group makes you realize how thin and unsatisfying an evening of theatre it is. The comedy only really gets good in the last half hour, once the sparks start to fly, and even then it's little more than the theatrical equivalent of junk food. Any attempt to read social commentary or deep meaning into the text is only wishful thinking. That said, watching McTeer violently pin Daniels onto their couch, or hearing Liu proclaim that she'll wipe her ass with the Bill of Rights in a moment of reckless abandon are worth the price of admission. It may be junk, but right now it's tasting pretty good.

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