Sunday, March 04, 2007

From strength to strength

Greetings all!

Curtain Up has a brilliant extensive section on all things Utopian, amalgamating reviews of all three shows in the process. Here are some of the best bits:

Overall they give Salvage two definite thumbs up, and are keen to dispel any damage done by negative reviewers:

Ignore comments you may have heard to the effect that this final episode is less dramatic and even more talky than its predecessors. Sure, it's talky, but it's also the most human of the three parts and the tendency to speechify is offset by the fact that those speeches include some of Stoppard's most memorable and eloquent dialogue.

Several of the cast members are lauded, not least Ms Ehle's efforts over the entire trilogy:

Ehle has gone from strength to strength, first as the tubercular Bakunin sister, next as Herzen's passionate wife and now as the very proper and yet also passionate German governess.

Later, when mentioning orderly governess Malwida, they describe Ehle's portrayal as:

...a wonderfully prim counterpart to the children's dead mother. ...

They also mention what I have to admit is one of my favourite bits of the shows:

...even the curtain call, with all those actors marching forward and backward to take their bows, makes Salvage and the whole Coast of Utopia an extraordinary experience.

On a more practical note, they also give specifics on the marathon schedules:

Part 1 starts 11am ends about 1:40 pm; Part 2 starts 3:30pm ends 6:00; Part 3 Starts 8pm should end around 10:30.

Barbara and Scott Siegel of Talkin' Broadway are disappointed with Part three, but despite that still say The Coast of Utopia its fullness is still a rather remarkable piece of theater. ...

They do laud the acting in Part three however. No specific mention of Ms Ehle, but Mr O'Byrne is given an enormous amount of gold stars:

Brian O'Byrne is that rare actor who can remain grounded in humanity while making bald-faced speeches when almost any other actor would be smothered in pomposity. When he gets to play scenes rather than talk politics, he is astonishing. There is one scene in Part 3 when he kisses Martha Plimpton on the cheek. In less than a fraction of a second there is a look that passes between them that has the net effect of 100,000 volts of electricity. It is unmistakable yet it happens so fast that you catch your breath. It is an amazing moment of theatrical legerdemain.

Ms Plimpton and Mr Hamilton are also praised in passing.

Christine Kearney of gives a brief re-cap of Salvage reviews including a few new quotes by Richard Easton.

There is also a plethora of Coast-cast related Charlie Rose interviews. Mr Crudup has done 7 (but I can only find 6 of them), Mr Hawke 5, and Mr O'Byrne 1. Here are links to them all:
Billy Crudup (May 05, Oct 04, Dec 03, May 02, Dec 01, Mar 00)
Ethan Hawke (Apr 05, Jan 05, Mar 04, Nov 01, Jan 98)
Brian F. O'Byrne (Apr 05)

They are all great, but I have a particular fondness for the former. I'm ashamed to say that when I was fortunate enough to meet Mr Crudup, I barely knew his name. Now, I have seen him in numerous films and interviews, he is quite clearly a very special guy. He has a wonderfully effervescent personality. He impresses me. A lot. I lament the fact he is not in Salvage.

Meanwhile, Billy Crudup's long-awaited ATW Downstage Center radio interview was broadcast last night. It is not yet available online, but it will be by my next post. I'll give you the link then.

Just for fun, here is a quote of some of Herzen's concluding words in Salvage:

History knocks at a thousand gates at every moment, and the gatekeeper is chance. It takes wit and courage to make our way, while our way is making us, with no consolation to count on but art and the summer lighting of personal happiness. . . Our meaning is in how we live in an imperfect world, in our time. We have no other.

For those of you who frequent Martha Plimpton's MySpace page, the last sentence is her profile quote. I had seen it before and liked it, but never realised it was from the show. What a blonde.

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