Review Roundup: HARRY TOWNSEND'S LAST STAND - What Did the Critics Think?
Harry Townsend's Last Stand (www.HarryTownsendsLastStand.com) a new play written by George Eastman (The Snow Job; Bitter Exchange) and directed by Karen Carpenter (Love, Loss and What I Wore; Handle With Care), premieres at New York City Center Stage II (131 West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).
The play stars Three time Tony® Award Nominee and Tony® Award winner, Len Cariou (title role in Sweeney Todd; A Little Night Music with Glynis Johns and Hermione Gingold ; Applause starring Lauren Bacall; "Blue Bloods") and Craig Bierko (Tony® Award and Drama Desk Award nominee, Music Man; "The Long Kiss Goodnight, "UnREAL," "Blue Bloods").
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times: Younger generations might see a creaky comedy packed with jokes about senior moments. And while older folks could have this reaction as well, they could also be chilled by George Eastman's Off Broadway play, which churns up thoughts many people studiously try to avoid. The show, after all, is about life's final stretch and the wrenching decisions that accompany it.
Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld: Bierko is crisp and Cali-urbane as he alternates patience and exasperation in dealing with his dad's antics. The guy knows how to bulge his eyes with an incredulous reaction without overplaying it. If HARRY TOWNSEND'S LAST STAND is a bit comfortably predictable, the banter between the two stars crackles and the affection the characters feel for each other is warm and genuine, making for a very enjoyable stay.
Deb Miller, DC Metro: Although much of Eastman's script is more suggestive of the lightness of a TV show than the depth of a theatrical work, and the resolution of his characters' dysfunction comes much too quickly, there are some meaningful passages in Harry Townsend's Last Stand that are especially affecting and relatable (one of the most beautiful segments is Harry's explanation of the significance of his home, which is so much more to him than just a physical dwelling). And it provides an opportunity for fans of the stars to see them back live on the New York stage, not just in their favorite roles on the small screen.
Marc Miller, Talkin' Broadway: The character definition is a little too on-the-nose. "You know what I wanted? I wanted to be you," Alan tells Harry, serving up practically his whole persona in a single line. "I was a dirty old man when I was 11, you're the prude," says Harry; we already knew that. Eastman's an efficient deployer of setups and punchlines, though, and if Harry Townsend's Last Stand often feels formulaic and predictable, that doesn't mean it isn't touching. Even when there's nothing else compelling going on, and that does happen, you can savor Cariou and recall how good he was in Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music and Applause and even, heaven help us, Dance a Little Closer. That's an evening's entertainment in itself.