Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ehle: Even better?

So far, there seem to be two patterns emerging with regard to reviews of the long-awaited partie trois of The Coast of Utopia. Firstly, reviews of the last installment as a whole seem to be mixed, and secondly, wherever she is personally mentioned, Ms Ehle is highly commended.

Here are a few more exemplifications of these trends:

Irene Backalenick from All About Jewish Theatre considers Salvage the least good of the three, but implies this is just a necessary inevitability of the story's close. She is complimentary and appreciative of the trilogy overall and reserves high praise for the achievements of Stoppard and O'Brien.

Time Out's David Cote is much more negative overall. Being more descriptive than evaluative, he says:

Martha Plimpton and Jennifer Ehle offer fire and ice, respectively, as women in Herzen’s life.

Kirk Honeycutt from The Hollywood Reporter likewise holds his thumbs more down than up. He does however applaud O'Brien for his continued "striking" and "imaginative" direction.

Ordinary theatre-goers seem to be far less critical:

Utopia virgin Pitgeek considers Salvage praiseworthy and is now seriously contemplating a marathon.

The NY Times reader reviews of Salvage are unanimously laudatory. Lexical choices utilised include 'dazzling', 'superb', and 'very stirring'.

tpbland notes:

...Jennifer Ehle plays a different character from part 2 but is perhaps even better here. I did not want the evening to end--it is superb.

teresek makes no specific mention of Ms Ehle but can't throw enough nice words in Mr O'Byrne's direction:

I saw Salvage from the first row (unfortunately didn't see the first two plays) and was dazzled by the acting. Brian F. O'Byrne, in particular, was extraordinary. His performance was expressive but restrained, with nothing excessive or artificial. To watch him "age," for instance, through a subtle slump of his body, turning his head to listen, getting up stiffly from a chair -- was extraordinary. He was surrounded by other wonderful actors who gave him everything he needed to play off of. Aside from its other merits (the staging and directing are admirable), anyone who loves fine acting should see this play.

How nice! shmenkie continues the rapturous praise, considering him-/herself a better person for having witnessed this arguably once-in-a-lifetime event.

Meanwhile, sailing momentarily away from Utopia...

On the NY Times bios pages, Rebecca Flint from All Movie Guide describes Ms Ehle as actress who infuses her characters with luminous strength and shrewd intelligence...

And, should you feel like perusing Ebay, you can buy a signed photo of Ms Ehle or a copy of Harpers & Queen from July 1999 which (according to the seller) has four-page feature. A Summerfolk programme is also still up for grabs.

Returning to the Lincoln, marathon numero uno is probably about mid-Shipwreck by now...fingers crossed it is all proceeding without a hitch...

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