Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Reviews Posted: Scoundrel Time and Saint Scarlet

A few new reviews are up at Centerstage. Two shows that don't work, but both have their good points.

First up is Scoundrel Time, based on Lillian Hellman's memoir of the blacklist, at City Lit. Here's a tease:

Lillian Hellman was an extraordinary woman. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t really get a sense of her life or the theatrical brilliance of her plays in "Scoundrel Time", adapted by City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe from Hellman’s 1976 memoir of her experience with the blacklist, and directed by Adrianne Cury.

Hellman, a playwright and memoirist with leftist sensibilities, was called to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952 and refused to name others who might have participated in communist activity, leading to her blacklisting, losing almost every chance to work. It’s easy to see the potential for drama here, but the stage version feels like a reading of the book, with the two actors simply standing onstage and telling the story, never really showing or seeming to experience anything. For those who enjoy well-crafted writing for its own sake, there is plenty on display, but there is little dramatic shape to be seen.

I also saw Julia Jordan's Saint Scarlet, produced by Idle Muse Theatre at The Side Project. Here's a bit from that review:

Not long into Julia Jordan's "Saint Scarlet" I found myself asking “Who are these people?” The members of the Cummins family, sisters Rose (Elen Fliesler) and Ruby (Stacey Sublette) and brother Seamus (Matt Nischan), as well as mysterious visitor Vinnie Silverstein (Matt Dyson) don't ever come to life as believable people. They are no more than collections of quirks, which makes it hard to care about their lives. The fact that Jordan's plot frequently strains credulity, with revelations that don't really make sense, doesn't help much either. And yet, it makes for a surprisingly entertaining evening. It's not good, exactly, but it's fun to watch, if only to see what nonsense will come next.

Enjoy the full reviews!

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