Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Band's Visit

Last night I went to see The Band's Visit for the second time, with five other people. One had seen it before, the other four hadn't. When the show was over, we were all glowing.

We sat in the last row, in the $49 seats. We had some binoculars with us, but we only used them occasionally. Sitting in the last row was just fine, which is a tribute both to the structure of the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and to David Cromer's quietly intense direction. The Band's Visit happens at a whisper, but it is a whisper that fills the theatre with emotion and beauty. (My niece said that the show was "like a poem," which I think is a great comment.)

One of my all-time favorite experiences is seeing something new and wonderful in the theatre, and The Band's Visit is both. It's a quiet show. It has no plot. It's a theatrical iceberg: 80% of its content is below the surface. The score is lovely, the lyrics by turns funny or moving or both. The performances are exactly right. The set is simple and thoroughly serves the show. The band's "Sergeant Pepper's uniforms" are perfect.

I'm so glad that the show won so many Tonys, all of which were completely deserved. It would have been unsurprising for the Tony voters to go for flash rather than quiet, but I guess The Band's Visit left them glowing as well.

Wendy Caster
($49 seats, last row)
Show-Score Score: 99

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