The Playgoer: "Catered Affair" out West

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Catered Affair" out West

Charles McNulty's LA Times review of A Catered Affair doesn't bode well for its highly anticipated Broadway arrival.

Nut graph:

"A Catered Affair" has some funny bits, but a desire to keep things gritty and real (in a fake 1950s way) stymies any farcical momentum. And with a score by John Bucchino that's mostly talky recitative, the work often seems like a serious chamber drama more inclined to frown than smile. The exception to this, of course, is when Fierstein takes possession of the stage. Like a gay golem, he terrorizes everyone with his sentimental shtick and sandpapery delivery of songs, which makes him sound as though he just gargled with thumbtacks.
Mostly, though, McNulty blames the choice of source material as well, the Paddy Chayevsky teleplay & subsequent screenplay.
The stern lesson to take away, however, is that not every movie can -- or should -- be transformed into a musical. Some, like Chayefsky's sad-sack dramas, are better left to the wee hours of late-night television, when the flickering images of the past are all we need to distract us from our insomnia.
Uh oh. Better tell John C. Reilly who's been developing a "Marty: The Musical." (Seriously.)

Personally I'm still a fan of Chayevsky's Network screenplay, but I must plead ignorance on the rest of his oeuvre.

2 comments:

George Hunka said...

Nothing against McNulty personally, but that's an odd characterization of Chayefsky's work. While "Marty" may -- may -- fall into this category (though it has its finer moments too), you can't say that about Chayefsky's screenplay for "The Hospital," one of the best American comedies of the 1970s.

I can't speak for "A Catered Affair."

The Playgoer said...

I agree, George, about The Hospital, too. It was so long ago I caught it on television, but I found it very, very interesting. A film that would never be made today--and so relevant today for its portrayal of the healthcare system.

What about Chayevsky's actual plays, though. Anyone out there familiar with Tenth Man or Gideon or others? I'm sure not.