Peter D. Kramer

Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Found in translation: The charm of ‘Chinglish’

In Reviews on October 28, 2011 at 10:07 am

“Chinglish”— David Henry Hwang’s funny take on an American trying to gain a foothold in the Chinese market and suffering from one bad translator after another — is a lot of things.

It’s a fish-out-of-water story — but those are a dime a dozen.

It’s a quirky sort of romantic comedy — but we’ve seen plenty of those.

It’s a story about different cultures, but Hwang’s Tony-winner “M. Butterfly” (and even “The Book of Mormon,” for that matter) trod the same ground.

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A whip-smart “Relatively Speaking”

In Reviews on October 21, 2011 at 7:23 am

The laughter comes in waves at the Brook Atkinson Theatre on Broadway, where three one-acts — by Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen — comprise “Relatively Speaking,” a starry evening directed by John Turturro.

Turturro’s work here is a bit of a miracle. He guides three wildly different sorts of plays with three different writing styles employing 16 actors, some famous, some not. He outfits each play with the right tone, the right actors, the right pace. It is something to behold.

While some may arrive at the Atkinson ready to see names from the screen big and small — Marlo Thomas (“That Girl”), Steve Guttenberg (“Cocoon”) and Mark Linn-Baker (“Perfect Strangers”) are in the cast — the revelation of the evening is Danny Hoch, a tall, unforgettable character actor who delivers some of the night’s best lines, first in Coen’s “Talking Cure” and then, after a break, in Allen’s “Honeymoon Motel.”

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Review: A powerful ‘Mountaintop’

In Reviews on October 14, 2011 at 6:00 am

“The Mountaintop,” Katori Hall’s powerful and compelling play imagining Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night, opened at Broadway’s Jacobs Theatre last night.

Directed by Kenny Leon (“Fences”), it stars Hollywood icons Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. That’s it — and that’s plenty.

For 94 minutes, the two denizens of the big screen fill David Gallo’s remarkable letterbox set — depicting the drab Room 306 at Memphis’ Lorraine Motel on April 3, 1968 — with true-to-life, honest-to-goodness, flesh-and-blood characters: one we know from history, the other an intriguing revelation.

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Review: Man, boy, spider

In Reviews on October 10, 2011 at 4:00 am

Forty-second Street is infested with spiders these days.

Of course, there’s that web-slinging comic-book crimefighter (and his half-dozen gravity-defying body doubles) wowing the crowds at the Foxwoods Theater in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

But the spider who really turns the blood cold is a couple of doors down at the Roundabout’s American Airlines Theater in the Broadway revival of English playwright Terence Rattigan’s 1961 play “Man and Boy,” which opened last night.

He’s Gregor Antonescu, a captain of commerce, a wily Romanian whose biography proclaims a rags-to-riches story.

(But you must consider the source.)

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