I always look forward to the arrival of the latest New Yorker. I don’t think there has ever been an issue I’ve read through that hasn’t had something fantastic in it: a great piece of fiction, a particularly insightful review, a hilarious cartoon. This week includes an extended review of the Kathleen Turner-directed production of “Crimes of the Heart.” I practically seethe with envy when I read a review like this. Given that most of my Style reviews are 300 to 600 words long, I can scarcely imagine having almost 1500 words to expound. (Notice, however, that even with all those words, the set and lighting design get summed up in a sentence. Poor techies can’t catch a break, even on Broadway!)
Hilton Als is an eloquent, intelligent critic. You might not agree with what he says but I think he does a great job saying what he thinks. And for me, the best thing about him is he isn’t impressed by much. I think he has a healthy appreciation of good theater (and art and movies – check out his blog if you want more of his thoughts) but he isn’t exactly kind to Beth Henley in his piece. While it’s a bit harsh, I also think it’s right on target. And whether it’s won a Pulitzer or not, I think you have to evaluate something honestly on its merits.
Speaking of merits – or lack of them – here’s the first thing I’ve read about Clay Aiken and his stint in “Spamalot.” I read somewhere else that the singer – who no one can deny has got awesome pipes – didn’t really “get it” when he watched the Monty Python movies. Is it any wonder then, that he doesn’t come across as quite silly enough?
And a final item that may be extremely silly – or a sublime surpise – is the high-jacking of a concept (or maybe just a title?) from an old classic for the planned film Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead. I have to admit that the title alone makes me smile.