22.7.11

Culture Vulturing

So, how does Lazygal spend her time January through June, besides reading? Well, this Lazygal watched a ton of tv... rented 31 movies and 8 tv series from Netflix... and then there were the shows and concerts. Herewith the reviews:

January brought John Gabriel Borkman at BAM. Don't know the play? Then you clearly weren't reading my blog back then, when I reviewed the play.

February was That Championship Season, with Keifer Sutherland, Chris Noth, Jason Patric and others. The language was dated - but the themes were timeless. If you don't know the play (or movie) it's the reunion of a championship basketball team at their coaches. Things Get Said... Incidents Revealed. Of course there's tension and the Big Resolution scene. The surprise for me was Jason Patric, whom I really didn't know as an actor. Noth was, well, solid and Keifer had a few Jack Bauer-like moments, but it really was Patric that struck me. Someone to watch for!

In March I spent a wonderful night listening to the Sima Trio play at an unusual location - DROM. The combination of ethnic and classical music in a more rock setting was interesting, as was the crowd. It was a short concert, only five numbers, but it felt like more would have been too much. They're playing similar, small venues and I recommend seeing them.

April was not the cruelest month - it was the busiest. First came Company, the all-star concert version that has been playing in movie theatres and will probably become a whine week staple on PBS. Much of it was enjoyable, but nothing grabbed me and made me think "wow!". Maybe it was the all-star casting, some not known for their musical abilities (Stephen Colbert) or the fact that they didn't have much time to rehearse as an ensemble. Most numbers were sketchy in terms of choreography, which was understandable. The two disappointments for me were Patti LuPone's "Ladies Who Lunch" and Neil Patrick Harris' "Being Alive". While Patti's voice didn't do that annoying warble it occasionally lapses into, I didn't feel the song the way I have done (as when Elaine Stritch or even Barbara Walsh sing it); NPH was perfectly fine up to the end, but, sadly, his voice just didn't carry "Being Alive". All-in-all, this was an all-star version of a high school production.

Then came King Lear, starring the incredible Derek Jacobi. The set was very minimalist, so your imagination had to take you to the locale: the rainstorm was one of those amazing stunts that will stick in my mind. Of course the acting was up to Jacobi's standard, with Gina McKee's Goneril reminding me a little of her Irene Forsythe. The other sisters were credible, but the real drama was the Edmund/Edgar conflict, with Edmund chewing what scenery there was and Edgar quietly going about his business.

Finally, there was kd lang previewing her new album at La Poisson Rouge. Despite a long wait to get into the venue, and the overheated space, it was so worth it. She's in good voice, and the intimate setting highlighted that. Having seen her at much larger spaces (Radio City, for example), I can say that the smaller space is better. So if you have the option, grab it. And kd? She could sing the phone booth and sound incredible. It's still one of the great puzzles that she's not a bigger star than she is.

Finally, we come to May and War Horse. Sniff! The story is obvious, with the big emotional moments telegraphed from miles away. Since this is based on a children's book, there's little subtlety. And yet... somehow, it works. Yes, those are puppets (amazing puppets, but puppets all the same) on stage. And yes, the message hits you over the head. But if you don't respond to the show, well, there's something wrong with you. My favorite puppet was actually the goose, which was really one of those push toys the children have, but within a few moments the goose had become real. I went with Thing One and another friend; the friend and I were in tears, as was most of the audience, while Thing One was dry-eyed. Says a lot about Thing One, doesn't it? And I honestly believe that the Speilberg movie version will lack that emotional punch, so come to NYC and see the play instead.

This fall is currently a little sparse, with Blondie at the Highline my only current plans.  However, one never knows... and Thing One did want to see a lot of ballet last year.  Maybe this year, we will.

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