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THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO Reviews

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BustopherPhantom
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/31/06
THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO Reviews#1
Posted: 7/13/08 at 6:10pm
Backstage is a Rave:
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...Both Bobbie and his cast remember that Durang's characters are not just zany cartoons, even though they sometimes act as if they were drawn in pen and ink and that if someone conked them on the noggin, stars would emerge from their heads. Fortunately, Durang supplies that vital third dimension, with every ridiculous action backed up with a valid emotional subtext. Bette prattles on about Winnie the Pooh and calls her grade-school classmate in the middle of the night because she idealizes her childhood. Boo wonders why there are no bars in hospitals because he can't cope with the endless visits there that inevitably end in tragedy

The cast deftly provides that undercurrent of emotional truth, keeping the play from becoming a two-hour comedy sketch. Kate Jennings Grant poignantly conveys Bette's desperate longing for a fairytale family while Christopher Evan Welch nails Boo's dogged numbness, exploding only once with fearful anger. As Matt, Charles Socarides skillfully combines a child's need for order with adult intelligence. John Glover is a glowering monster as Boo's boorish father while Julie Hagerty is expertly oblivious as his dithering mother. Bette's parents are just as daft and deftly played by Victoria Clark and Adam Lefevre. Heather Burns is particularly moving as Bette's perpetually apologizing sister Emily and Zoe Lister-Jones balances her perfectly as her sarcastic sister Joan. Terry Beaver delivers several gemlike comic moments as the bacon-imitating padre...


http://www.backstage.com/bso/news_reviews/nyc/review_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003826981&imw=Y
"Y'know, I think Bertolt Brecht was rolling in his grave."
-Nellie McKay on the 2006 Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, in which she played Polly Peachum
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BustopherPhantom
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/31/06
re: THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO Reviews#2
Posted: 7/13/08 at 9:00pm
Variety is a Rave:
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...Bobbie's spry direction weaves a fluid thread through the endless ricochet and erratic rhythms of conventional dialogue, direct address, musical snippets, academic asides and profoundly odd non sequiturs -- rendered cohesive by the distinctive logic of Durang's skewed worldview.

The entire cast is in sync with the writing, but Jennings Grant makes an especially deep impression. Her desperation as she continues to hope through each ill-fated pregnancy for a miracle; her blindness to the rewards of being a real mother to her emotionally isolated surviving son, rather than dreaming of children she can't have; the wistfulness of naming her stillborn babies after A.A. Milne characters; her shrill, unhinged vigilance each time Boo takes a drink -- wherever Bette's wild mood swings take her, the performance is heartbreaking...


http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117937717.html?categoryid=33&cs=1
"Y'know, I think Bertolt Brecht was rolling in his grave."
-Nellie McKay on the 2006 Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, in which she played Polly Peachum
LadyRosecoe
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joined:8/4/07
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8/4/07
re: THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO Reviews#2
Posted: 7/13/08 at 9:42pm
"You can't VACUUM gravy!"
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BustopherPhantom
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
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re: THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO Reviews#3
Posted: 7/13/08 at 10:13pm
The New York Times (with Charles Isherwood reviewing) is Mixed:
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...Mr. Socarides plays Mr. Durangs alter ego, Matt, with a sense of quizzical sorrow that can be affecting, but he is not really a comedian. Some of the joke-riddled monologues (Holidays were invented in 1203 by Sir Ethelbert Holiday, a sadistic Englishman) dont pack the punch they probably could. But I dont regret not having seen Mr. Durang in the role. There is so much acute pain howling through this semi-autobiographical play that it is hard to imagine laughing along as the author cracks jokes in front of you.

As it was, I found myself squirming in discomfort more often than I would have liked, not laughing but wincing and sensing a desperation in the play that the production keeps at bay, that perhaps Mr. Durang could not bring himself to confront.


http://theater2.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/theater/reviews/14bett.html?8dpc=&pagewanted=all
"Y'know, I think Bertolt Brecht was rolling in his grave."
-Nellie McKay on the 2006 Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, in which she played Polly Peachum
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BustopherPhantom
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/31/06
re: THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO Reviews#4
Posted: 7/13/08 at 10:16pm
Talkin' Broadway is Mixed:
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Dysfunction, like so much else in life, is relative. Take Christopher Durangs piercing comic tearjerker, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, which Roundabout is now presenting in its Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre. When the play premiered 23 years ago, its torrential centerpieces of divorce, alcoholism, and stillbirths (four in all) were ideal for vivisection by jokes that made relieving light of things that at first seemed impossibly dark. How better to survive the depths of emotional degradation than by facing them on their own surreal terms?

Alas, the intervening two and a half decades have not been kind. With the television airwaves flooded with reality TV shows, in which confessions about once-taboo topics are commonplace, there arent many boundaries left to breach, and most of the blindly followed traditions Durang assails have since been viciously parodied by far more serious sources. What remains of Bette and Boo is an amplified version of what has always existed: a messy, entropy-prone chronicle of a young mans upbringing so buoyant and funny that you hardly notice how heartbreaking it is.

Its understandable, then, that the plays tragic aspects are more persuasive and percussive today than once they were. And this revivals director, Walter Bobbie, and his mostly appealing cast are very willing and almost always able to work within this difficult new context. Though they cant resurrect all of the original bite, they do construct a sturdy, attractive vision of a past we cant help but wish we had somehow been able to take part in, even if were also glad we didnt...


http://www.talkinbroadway.com/ob/07_13_08a.html
"Y'know, I think Bertolt Brecht was rolling in his grave."
-Nellie McKay on the 2006 Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, in which she played Polly Peachum