The Playgoer: REVIEWS: Yellow Moon/ Eccentricities of a Nightingale

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

REVIEWS: Yellow Moon/ Eccentricities of a Nightingale

A double-whammy of print reviews for me this week.

In the Voice, David Greig's Yellow Moon, courtesy of Brits Off Broadway. It's a Scottish play with its own special "curse"--Story-Theatre. I realize I've ridiculed plays before for bearing too much of the story-theater touch. But honestly, I'm not completely biased against it. Just to my mind, when you've seen such masters as Peter Brook, Simon McBurney, and Mary Zimmerman master it and elevate it beyond the "Up with People" model, I find myself less easily impressed at basic ensemble work I kind of take for granted...Which is basically how I felt about Yellow Moon--thoroughly competent in execution, potentially interesting story in the script, but all together it seemed like some mildly diverting Fringe Festival entr'acte (such as at Edinburgh, where it of course played.) Thus to me not worth a full evening out at theatre in this busy town.

But hey, don't listen to me. Ish and Helen quite liked it. I actually started doubting myself until I found a kindred spirit in the Sun's Laura Collins-Hughes.

Something new, something old. Or rather, something both old and new: Eccentricities of a Nightingale (in Time Out), Tennesee Williams' seldom performed rewrite of Summer and Smoke. Certainly a must for Tennessee completists. But I just wish it were a more alive production. Perhaps too much attention to the niceties and formalities of period at the expense of passion and poetry. A perfectly inoffensive production that I guess serves its purpose--if that is simply to air the play. But you'll have to decide for yourself whether the play itself even is an improvement upon the original. (Mark Blankenship thinks it is and that the production is just fine.)

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