Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Before the rush

In a few hours opens the official premiere of Mr & Mrs Fitch at the Second Stage Theatre, and Playbill.com gives us three first pictures of Jennifer Ehle and John Lithgow on stage:

(Photos by Joan Marcus)

Before the rush of critics that will flow then, two early and mixed reviews:
- one from the Opinionist, who underlines that
If it were possible to assemble a substantial evening of theater out of clever one-liners, gifted actors and crackling chemistry, Douglas Carter Beane's Mr & Mrs Fitch would be a smashing success. Starring the equally adept John Lithgow and Jennifer Ehle, the story (which is the weak link here) concerns two married Manhattan gossip columnists ....
Naturally, complications arise, but unfortunately they don't pile up quickly enough to sustain the insubstantial plot of this full-length play. By the start of act two, the effervescence turns a little flat...
But, in the end, "it's hard not to enjoy yourself when these two are savoring such saw one-liners as "Gossip is just news that's interesting" (...) "Theater, you know, that thing movie people do when they want to announce they're available for television".
- the ShoNuff Lives begins with
The talent is outstanding: Douglas Carter Beane, John Lithgow and Jennifer Ehle. The barbs are vicious, pernicious and delicious. The play, however, is a disappointment.
The part on Jennifer Ehle is particularly laudatory though:
Ehle, who's somewhat less known outside the theater community, is a marvel. Having seen her in the Coast of Utopia trilogy (not to mention her rocketing to fame in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice), I know what she's capable of. Here, her mannered accent warbles a bit, but she smiles deliciously with every witticism launched. She hobbles around on unseemly heels, but does it with grace and elegance. I'd watch her read from the phone book, but she has about as much to do here. The play is very much centered around Mr Fitch, and Mrs Fitch is basically a compliment to him, another gorgeous object that helps him operate his world.

Overall, it's not a bad night in the theatre, but it's essentially disappointing because it could be a great one given the talent involved.

You can see a tiny second of Ms Ehle and Mr Lithgow in the play at this View video or here (thanks Tez!), while John Lithgow is eagerly answering his fan questions (maybe yours?) in this one.
Finally, for those of you unlucky readers who can not make the trip to NYC to see Fitch with your own eyes and make your playbill signed by the actors, you can always write to the Second Stage Theater to ask for a signed playbill. It seems to have worked pretty well for a couple of fans.

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