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|A CurtainUp Review
The Last Dance
By Miriam Colin
The dancers in this ninety minute premiere seem to be listening to the cliched beat of an old-fashioned romantic comedy -- alas, not the top of the line. Instead of a substantive plot, we have a lot of flowery business. There's the literal kind with people walking in loaded with the stuff, and the kind that's associated with lots of fey, poetic talk that is at times embarrassingly bad. And, yes, we actually have several poets to wax poetic.
The plot that we do get revolves around a heroine of sorts, a forty-ish novelist named Charlotte (JoBeth Williams). The setting, shades of the much more charming Enchanted April ( see review) is a lovely home away from home, in this case the southern coast of France. Charlotte's is inherited rather than rented and the place she and the other characters once called home is not London but the Deep South where flowery talk is as abundant as magnolias.
Maybe it's heading towards fifty. Maybe it's the idyllic locale, but Charlotte now wants to live a more esthetic life, dedicated to books and poetry -- and without the distraction of Randall (David Rasche) her attractive, wealthy (what else?) long time admirer and Cab a hunky young lover (Lorenzo Pisoni) -- not to mention a possible involvement with a local fisherman. To expedite this Greta Garbo mantra Charlotte has turned matchmaker in order that Cab transfer his existence to Georgeanne (Heather Goldenhersh) her goddaughter who also happens to be a young poetess.
This sugary confection from a playwright from whom one expects much more is not helped by a less than enchanting performance by the lead character. Goldenhersh is, as she often is, adorable and funny. Pisoni is adequate as the young lover and Rasche makes the most of the older swain (if Norman can give a character a romance novel name like Cab, I feel entitled to use the word swain).
Lynne Meadows does her best to smoothly steer this forgettable play to its talky end. Since, as MTC's artistic director, she must take credit for including it in the company's season, perhaps she assumed the job of directing it as penance.
The production values, like the performances, are adequate but not outstanding so that you can't even applaud the scenery and the costumes. Manhattan Theatre Club's loyal subscribers deserve better than this.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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