It’s just one Geroge Street play hilariously desperate for the rave – Times Square Chronicles
Buckle up, line theater junkies, it’s gonna be a wild and rocky night at horse racing,… or something like that. She tends to do things almost well; the line, most of the time, hitting her just before on the nose. And the same could be said of this piece itself. This is a joke. Kind of. One of many rendered with aplomb by the spirited team assembled for the smash hit comedy from Tony Award winner Terrence McNally, It’s only a game, streaming for the entire world from June 15 to July 4. Filmed professionally on stage at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, this opening night was sort of an insider piece on the outside, which I saw in 2014 with an A all-star cast, no. is not a solidly perfect farce, like Noises off or The game that goes wrong, but he finds a dashing frivolity in the maniacal celebrity-filled debauchery of this self-obsessed theatrical crowd. Hosted by George Street Playhouse with a finesse that is most appreciated, this ode to self-control and adoration embedded in the twisted world of drama does its best to create ironic hilarity for every type of show that is cast. to us and to each other with intelligent ease. It’s basically sharp, sleek, witty, and pretty darn satisfying, even when it stumbles under its own weight and heartfelt sincerity.
Directed with acuity by a highly concentrated Kevin Cahoon (George Street’s The geek), with perfect cinematography and editing by Michael Boylan, the streaming production nearly does the impossible, creating a well-orchestrated alignment of types of theater and comedy, all within the void of an empty auditorium. Putting a prank under such circumstances is a feat worth mentioning, and cannot be denied, creating more interesting and funny characters and moments than others, for an absurd and heartfelt night of storytelling. Just give the head a “comfortable chair and a phone for the exhibition“While doing just that, is the engine that powers this prank, and it’s a very good high octane gas to use.
With a star-eyed boy, played forcefully by the adorable Doug Harris (Playwrights Realm’s The Rape of the Sabine Women …), basically (almost) stealing the show (much like Micah Stock did on Broadway), opening night rolls off with a bang, barely giving the boy a chance to catch his breath as he and the others deliver a joke and witty side one after another, while eagerly awaiting reviews of the play. The team is all, in one way or another, invested in the success (or failure) of this theatrical thing, and that keeps them spinning around this beautifully coordinated bedroom, thanks to the remarkable work of the stage designer. David L. Arsenault (Theater Row’s A letter to Harvey Milk), costume designer Alejo Vietti (Broadway / RTC’s Holiday Inn), Lighting Designer Alan C. Edwards (Vineyard’s Harry clarke), with sound design, music and sound editing by Ryan Rumery (Broadway’s Be cooler), as the insane opening night rages downstairs. We hear the opening party, but what we are invited to is something more intimate and raw, the underlying playfulness, worthy of the central place it occupies. They all gather in this upscale bedroom to support and rage against the machine, pushing their agendas and balancing their egos on a pretty shaky schick, all the while seeming to like to do “a lot of self-destructive things, .. but i draw the line on tv“.
It’s only a game finds the formula to come to life in an assortment of unforgettable characters wrapped in incredibly fun moments, from the messy overly dramatic foreground woman sniffing cocaine on the side table to the exaggerated British director Wonderkid struggling to feel that kind of feeling. Another slice of success, I guess, for him is unimaginable annoyance, equal to other people’s need to get that external validation rave, the other drug that lives in the air in that particular room that night. The play they all celebrate, titled The golden egg, just opened on Broadway, and everyone has their opinion on it. The title is too obvious a joke begging to be made, in the same way these characters desperately await these reviews. These quotes are just waiting to be made, it becomes clear. We feel it on our lips, we review them, but I can’t say I need to use them for this one. I want to, just for the sake of the pun, but they wouldn’t quite fit this production, and it wouldn’t be fair to just do it for my enjoyment.
In 1985, It’s only a game made his debut as McNally (Frankie and Johnny …) himself struggled to unveil a successful play. No surprise there, as that wacky, light-hearted wonder is filled to the brim with digs and kisses for a business that is all show, and not always nice, until it is. And when it does, it borders on the divine. Years later, with a Pulitzer, an Emmy, and a whole slew of Tony Awards by its side, this ode to the play feels a bit cluttered with complaints, offset by heartfelt speeches. They resonate, but are overly dramatic moments, pushed forward by the desperate playwright, played by the very talented Andy Grotelueschen (Broadway’s Tootsie), whose game is rotten apple core of this much tastier dish. When it was on Broadway It’s only a game starred the legendary Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally, Rupert Grint and F. Murray Abraham, who somehow, along with Lane, still manage to play their part in the insult compartment . Micah Stock essentially stole the show as a cute locker room boy, dying to sing a song that would defy gravity in this moderately successful production by Jack O’Brien. It was a very popular item at the time, but I only wish the production was as great and hilarious as the frenzy surrounding the ticket sales.
Somehow, here at George Street Playhouse, the less starred (a bit) actors in general find a more solidly singular feel. Perhaps because here the power of the stars is toned down a bit, while the air is filled with a bit more humanity, even in overdone antics. Perhaps this is how this room really shines. The Impeccable Julie Halston (Broadway’s Tootsie) knows it all, capturing the spotlight on her very first entry, making it impossible to look away, even as she throws her leg like it’s electrocuted. “She was good, but so was Faye Dunaway“Said Jimmy, played cleverly and hilariously by the alluring (and not overdone) Zach Shaffer (Broadway’s The man who came to dinner) as a TV star who returned to Broadway to cheer, a bit, on her dear close playwright friend Peter (Grotelueschen). They have a Broadway story, and with that story comes complications and a bond that even slurs can’t hurt. When the play debuted in 2014 on Broadway, that coupling was Lane and Broderick, bringing this propelled star Producer pizzaz on the ring. This celebrity excitement essentially blew the material away by using often cheap and fun antics to nail it down, but here Jimmy and Peter are the duo who dare to engage in the truth, and it seems a bit clearer thanks to their lower wattage.
The character who still struggles to connect to the same level of witty Broadway jokes mingled with secret poison is the dizzy delusional producer who has too much money for his own good. Mullally on Broadway did her best to bring humor to the play, while here Christine Toy Johnson (Broadway / Stroman’s The man of music) never really hits a grove worth remembering, being almost too giddy and gentle for its own good. She’s not bad, I must add, but she’s not Greg Cuellar (New Light’s I wanna fuck like R&J) who shines brightly in the role of the impossible British director with his unique blend of pomp and circumstance. He discovers a path through the mud that Grint simply failed in the Broadway production, giving a ridiculously fun performance that works. Cuellar fidgets, almost annoyingly, but in a cunning way that elevates the role, especially during his historic little puppet show that entertains us and connects us to his inner bad boy.
It is a joy, even when the whole collapses under a few tender blows. Lucky for us, all of the cast seem to ingeniously kneel down before the High Priest’s Altar of Personal Commitment with ever-intelligent pleasure. Most make it work for them. Others struggle, but It’s only a game, and even when the crew sometimes fails words, here and there the play and the cast never entirely fall into The golden eggit’s a mess. Triney Sandoval (Broadway’s) Bernhardt / Hamlet) as the sour, desperate theater critic (and secret playwright, no surprise there) judiciously questions Peter with a nod, asking how far he would go for a good review. “Put a bag on your head and I’ll fuck you for one, he said in all honesty. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way for any of them or this production. It’s just a game finds its light in the flowing darkness and has fun there. For the majority. Therefore “Fuck me, Jean Paul Sartre“, enjoy this one, because comedy is tough, especially streaming, but George Street is right. The review may not be the praise they all expected and hoped for, but it certainly is not a rotten egg either. It’s pretty darn golden, if you ask me.
George Street Playhouse It’s only a game Broadcast from June 15 to July 4.
by Terrence McNally. Directed by Kevin Cahoon. Tickets are available for $ 33 per household on GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org. Virtual Household Tickets will be available for purchase until 8 p.m. EST on Saturday, July 3, 2021.
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