Review Roundup: MAN AND BOY
Roundabout Theatre Company is presenting three-time Tony Award® winner Frank Langella as "Gregor Antonescu" in Terence Rattigan's drama Man and Boy, directed by Maria Aitken. Man and Boy began previews on September 9th and opened officially last night, October 9th, 2011 at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway.
In Man and Boy, at the height of the Great Depression, ruthless financier Gregor Antonescu's (Langella) business is dangerously close to crumbling. In order to escape the wolves at his door, Gregor tracks down his estranged son Basil in the hopes of using his Greenwich Village apartment as a base to make a company-saving deal. Can this reunion help them reconcile? Or will this corrupt father use his only son as a pawn in one last power play? Man and Boy is a gripping story about family, success and what we're willing to sacrifice for both.
For tickets and more information, visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.
Ben Brantley, NY Times: But the main raison d'être of this production - and the one compelling reason to see it - is the occasion it gives its star to explore the pathology of power. Few performers are as good as Mr. Langella at using an actor's instinctive narcissism to capture the egomania that fuels (and sometimes topples) the wildly successful.
Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly: This unhealthy father-son dynamic should make for excellent theater, but strangely - and despite what the play's title might suggest - these two characters' relationship feels underdeveloped. Basil awkwardly vacillates between petulant rejection of his father and pure adulation. Driver can't come close to matching his costar's stage presence and the struggle ends up lopsided, with Basil's accuastory speech to his father at the end of the first act hitting with all of the force of overcooked spaghetti.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: It's ultimately Langella's show, though. His Gregor comes on as icy-smooth as Dracula. But as his fortunes threaten to crumble, the actor lets that fa?ade dissolve, subtly and masterfully. This mogul is a complicated man who never appears entirely defeated.
"Never, in the future, let the truth make you cry," Gregor tells Basil in a particularly dark moment. It's a bit of practical advice that seems as timely as ever at this juncture.
Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News: We've reasonably come to expect dramatic fireworks when Frank Langella acts on Broadway. But even a triple Tony-winning powerhouse can't make damp gunpowder flash and ignite. And "Man and Boy" - a melodrama of high finance and low morals - is packed with the stuff.
Linda Winer, Newsday: The critical relationship between father and son strains for Ibsenesque revelation. In lieu of anything near that, we get to watch Langella demonstrate how much a master can communicate with the weary flick of a cigarette and deliver sophisticated, horrifying lines as if words actually leave their tastes in his mouth. Dare you to take your eyes off him.
Fern Siegel, Huffington Post: Mostly, the production is an opportunity to see strong dramatic performances. This year, the centenary of the British playwright's birth is being marked both here and in England. His work was popular post-war -- The Winslow Boy, The Deep Blue Sea -- but he fell from grace in the late 1950s.
Michael Musto, Village Voice: It's pretty racy stuff--the man will stop at nothing, even gay baiting, while admitting "Love is a commodity I can't afford"--and the play's financial shenanigans seem very current in the age of Bernie Madoff, especially when you consider the suicide of Madoff's son. Despite all that, for a lot of Act One, Man and Boy comes off stuffy and talky.