It is a testament to the writing ability of Beane that tremendous humor is generated in references to Edith Wharton, Virginia Wolf and Evelyn Waugh, to name but a few authors in the Fitchs' lettered galaxy. It would probably take at least three or four viewings of the play for even the most sophisticated audience-goer to catch all of the humorous cultural allusions.
Although the comedy can be very erudite, the humor in Mr. and Mrs. Fitch is never dry or sterile. Those who are not as literary-minded as the Fitch's need not be intimidated as the infectious exuberance and virtual musicality of the actors' performances creates genuine dramatic excitement. It is also wonderful to listen to a script in which the author challenges the audience instead of pandering to it. The tenor and the delivery of the dialogue in the play remind a viewer of the rapid-fire dialogue in the 1930's screwball Hollywood comedies featuring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, or Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Mr. Lithgow sings several excerpts from Cole Porter and George Gershwin to highlight the play's cultural connection to 1930's sophistication.
The comedy offers an interesting snapshot of how information is transmitted in the early 21th century. The irony is that the very explosion of methods of communication through the internet, blogs, twitter, etc. can make it more difficult to determine what the truth actually is. Facts may be circulated before being checked. Fame and celebrity can be manufactured virtually overnight to masses that enjoy being titillated, even if those same masses suspect in the back of their minds that they are being manipulated. The play humorously examines the superficiality of much of popular culture and the danger of having a relative approach to reality.
Like their cinematic counterparts referred to above, John Lithgow and Jennifer Ehle have tremendous synergy and charisma as a couple. Like any true duo, each derives inspiration and energy from their partner. It is a great challenge for two actors to carry a full length play and one can only admire the sparkle and zest that Lithgow and Ehle bring to their roles.
(...) Visiting Mr. and Mrs. Fitch in their dapper digs can make for a very rewarding evening.
Other late reviews include the more mixed ones at Wolfentertainmentguide, the hofstrachronicle or the villagevoice.
Pros-cons discussions and comments about reviews to be found at Broadwayworld.com, while playwright Carter Beane will discuss his comedy on Cuny TV on Monday, March the 15th.
News about Game of Thrones include an impressive list of crew members needed for the forthcoming filming of the series (info reported by Winter is Coming). Lucky readers from Belfast!
No updates from me next week, as I'll be in New York City judging for myself what to think of the Fitches! I'll be back soon, though...