Saturday, June 10, 2006

Might As Well Stay Home...

If these predictions are anything to go by, the three Irish plays haven't a hope at the Tonys later on today. Looks like The History Boys and its star, Uncle Monty, will win everything, plays-wise at least, and as for the musicals, Drowsy Chaperone or Jersey Boys or something, who cares?

Last night we went to see Adam Rapp's play Red Light Winter at the West Village theatre, the Barrow. It's a good spot, and the plays I've seen there have been of a consistently high quality. But, like most of the theatre I've encountered here, they've always had to them a hint of compromise, of second-best. Standards here are just lower, sloppier, without, it seems, anybody really realising or caring. Hyperbole is the critic's best friend here. They go crazy for anything sentimental, moody, angry, no matter how shallow or manipulative the employment or portrayal of those emotions may be. Red Light Winter is an o.k. play, and I'm glad I saw it, but it didn't deserve the glowing reviews it got in the establishment press here. It's about two best friends who sleep with the same prostitute in Amsterdam; one of them, a tortured playwright, falls in love with her, while she falls in love with the other, a macho idiot. The dialogue is snappy (too snappy at times) and there are genuinely powerful moments. And it gave me a chance to hear Tom Waits' Tom Traubert's Blues again, and reminded me to download all of Small Change this morning, and listen to it, so that's good. And yeah, good performances. But claustrophobic, and underdeveloped, and abandoned just when things were getting interesting. So all in all, another NY theatre experience. It's only when it comes to theatre that I ever really miss Dublin.

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