Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Lear, A Song, A Coast, A Trail And A Lyric

Okay, catch up time.

I saw Kevin Kline's King Lear on Friday. It was the very first performance so I certainly won't review the show other than to say I don't know if I can see what they're working towards and that worries me. Kline isn't a natural Lear but he was good when Lear was broken and mad. Cerveris was of course very good. And the happy surprise was Joshua Logan-Green, who has gone from being dumped by "The OC" to performing Shakespeare at the Public and holding his own.

Then I saw Adrift In Macao, a silly film noir musical by Christopher Durang. For all its faults, it was pretty fun, as the NYTimes put it. I would single out Will Swenson as capturing the dry tone of this satire just right. In general, these things work better when they're played straight, so his big number (in which he talked about paying outside songwriters to pen him a tune) didn't work for me. And frankly, I can't believe the NYTimes didn't mention that Orville Mendoza (who plays the "scrutable" Asian Tempura) looks like a dead ringer for Jack Black.

Saturday night I saw Part Two of The Coast Of Utopia, which was just terrific and moving. I have no objection, by the way, to Christopher Isherwood saying he found Coast boring. My objection is to his claim that he was being very bold and brave to swim against the tide of public opinion in saying so. Hardly. There's nothing safer than taking the most acclaimed movie/tv show/play/book/CD of the year and saying, "Well, it's not THAT good." Saying the Emperor has no clothes is about the easiest thing in the world.

Over the weekend, I finally got around to watching the Robert Duvall Western "Broken Trail," which was very satisfying and perhaps even a notch better than I was hoping for.

Finally, I also saw a screening of "Music and Lyrics," in which Hugh Grant plays Hugh Grant to the point where it almost seems like parody. The parodies of 80s pop tunes -- by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne -- were good. "Pop Goes My Heart" does indeed sound convincingly like a one-hit wonder. What it doesn't sound like is a classic pop tune like the sort of one George Michael might have penned (the clear model here, with a dash more heterosexuality). The movie itself is painfully familiar and predictable.

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