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Broadway Blogs - Review Roundup: GOD OF CARNAGE and More...

Below are BroadwayWorld.com's blogs from Monday, March 23, 2009. Catch up below on anything that you might have missed from BroadwayWorld.com's bloggers!

Review Roundup: GOD OF CARNAGE
by Robert Diamond - March 23, 2009

God of Carnage is a comedy of manners without the manners. The play deals with the aftermath of a playground altercation between two boys and what happens when their parents meet to talk about it.

Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden star in GOD OF CARNAGE, the new play by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by Matthew Warchus, which opened on Broadway at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45 Street) on Sunday March 22.

Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press: "Here Gandolfini is a team player, one of four actors who do superb ensemble work in a verbally and physically volatile production directed with precision by Matthew Warchus. The play, which opened Sunday at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, has been adapted from the French by Christopher Hampton. For Broadway, he's transplanted the story from Paris to what appears to be upper middle-class Brooklyn where two sets of parents are meeting to discuss their young sons' park brawl. The problem? How to defuse the situation in which one lad got two teeth broken."

Ben Brantley, New York Times: "What you can't imagine is the artful course that Mr. Warchus and his performers take. "God of Carnage" may be a familiar comic journey from A to B, but it travels first class."

Elysa Gardner, USA Today: "Reza's scabrously funny new play, which opened Sunday at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre, is set in the home of Michael and Veronica Novak, seemingly a nice, middle-class couple. The Novaks play host to the more affluent Alan and Annette Raleigh, whose son has bashed their son's teeth in. It's not a typical social visit, but both sets of parents are determined to work out the matter civilly."

David Rooney, Variety: "With all the anger in the air in these dark days for the nation, there's a certain schadenfreude in watching Yasmina Reza's acid-dipped takedown of smug self-interest in "God of Carnage." Examining how the straitjacket of civilized society can barely contain the primitive beast within, the fanged comedy picks an easy target in the complacent bourgeoisie. But the savagery of its dissection of interpersonal politics -- marital, sexual and civic -- is played to perfection by a scorching cast in Matthew Warchus' pungent production."

David Sheward, Backstage: "But this is a well-crafted playwriting exercise rather than a believable character study. Early on, Reza plants seemingly insignificant details like time bombs, and they explode later with devastating impact. She also knows exactly how to time a joke for maximum reaction, and she cleverly groups and regroups the combatants in different alliances so you don't always know who is on whose side. Kudos also to Christopher Hampton's adaptation from the original French, which transplants the action to tony Park Slope without any noticeable losses in transit. You can see the wiring in this precision machine, but thanks to a stellar cast and impeccable direction by Matthew Warchus, Carnage is a feast for both actors and audience."

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: "'God of Carnage,' the savvy and deliciously caustic new comedy of urban ill-manners from the French writer Yasmina Reza now at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre, shoots its entire clip of sardonic bullets in just 90 minutes. Demonstrably, that's barely enough time for many in the Broadway audience to get over the excitement of being in the same theater as Tony Soprano."

John Simon, Bloomberg News: "Yasmina Reza's "God of Carnage," with Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden, proves superior entertainment at Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. What a pleasant surprise to share a walloping good time with the audience at this comedy, whose ferocious title paradoxically reinforces the subtly furibund fun."

Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly: "From her international hit Art to Life x 3, Reza has established herself as a master of middlebrow social satires, magnificently constructed plays that reveal the character and contradictions of various types, that insert just enough highbrow references (clafouti, Darfur) to suggest a greater depth, and that gallop to a final curtain in an efficient hour and a half, without intermission. God of Carnage is true to form. In addition, it's enormously fun to watch - and this well-synchronized cast of Broadway veterans has a grand old time devolving into petulant children on stage. A-"

Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: After making you laugh, though, Yasmina Reza's "God of Carnage" leaves a bitter aftertaste. This Howitzer blast against bourgeois-bohemian hypocrisy could easily be staged as a drama. But it certainly isn't done that way here, and that's just fine it's been a while since Broadway's seen such gleefully nasty fun."

Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: "James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano himself, is one of four first-class actors at the top of their game in the combustible comedy "God of Carnage," which opened Sunday night and could be called "Grownups Gone Wild!""

Linda Winer, NY Newsday: "And these four are up there with the very best. Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden embody the seemingly reasonable couple that invites the fancier parents of their son's tormentor to their home (designed as an angular slash of blood-red walls and cracked-cobblestone art by Mark Thompson). Jeff Daniels plays joyously against nice-guy type as the savage high-rolling lawyer attached to his cell phone. Hope Davis makes being febrile into an operatic art as his wife, who is in "wealth management.""

Frank Shceck, Hollywood Reporter: "Bottom Line: It might not be "Art," but Yasmina Reza's hilarious boulevard comedy should be a raving Broadway success."

Robert Feldberg, Bergen Record: "The play, which opened Sunday at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, has a rueful undertone, suggesting that each of us is trapped in our own form of selfishness, making it very hard to live happily with another person. But that, happily, is paired with an embrace of extreme humor."

Charles McNulty, LA Times: ""God of Carnage" may have the feel of a play in which characters have no choice but to fall in line with their playwright's nihilistic manipulations, but with actors this ferociously robust, human nature seems to have its own incorrigible agenda."


Broadway Grosses: Week Ending 3/22 & Algonquin Round Table Quote of the Week
by Michael Dale - March 23, 2009

"I didn't like the play, but than I saw it under adverse conditions.  The curtain was up."
-- George S. Kaufman

 

The grosses are out for the week ending 3/22/2009 and we've got them all right here in BroadwayWorld.com's grosses section.

Up for the week was: IRENA'S VOW (61.8%), JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE (53.4%), BLITHE SPIRIT (23.7%), MARY POPPINS (15.3%), THE 39 STEPS (13.3%), GUYS AND DOLLS (12.7%), BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL (10.5%), THE LION KING (9.7%), SOUTH PACIFIC (9.4%), WEST SIDE STORY (9.2%), AVENUE Q (8.5%), THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (7.3%), SHREK THE MUSICAL (7.0%), JERSEY BOYS (6.9%), THE LITTLE MERMAID (5.6%), REASONS TO BE PRETTY (5.2%), HAIR (4.5%), HEDDA GABLER (3.4%), MAMMA MIA! (2.9%), 33 VARIATIONS (2.4%), EXIT THE KING (2.2%), IMPRESSIONISM (1.8%), WICKED (1.8%), AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (1.4%),

Down for the week was: THE AMERICAN PLAN (-12.8%), IN THE HEIGHTS (-0.9%), GOD OF CARNAGE (-0.8%), CHICAGO (-0.2%),


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