Friday, November 06, 2009

Wild Things

The Tlines spent the evening enjoying alternate art forms tonight. I took the youngest to see “Where the Wild Things Are” while the other boy was squired to appreciate some ballet (a new online review of which showed up on the Style site today). Variety is the spice, right?

I hadn’t been to the IdeaStations site in a while but I went there today after hearing John Porter’s review of “This Is How It Goes” on the radio. I really like how they’ve carved out a spot just for the theater reviews. However, I wish they were a little more timely in posting the ones they have. Of course, I feel that way about Style too sometimes, which, because of the vagueries of the publishing schedule, often has theater reviews in hand for a week or more before they see the light. My review of “TiHiG” being a case in point…

But, even though I don’t have a published version to refer to, I have to say I agree with much of what Mr. Porter had to say. (UPDATE: Mr. Porter has posted his review on his blog, FYI!) The way I would sum it up is that “TiHiG” is a play I respected more than I enjoyed. LaBute is a challenging playwright and I admire the fact that he goes places few others dare to go. And I love plays that make you think. But this one largely annoyed me. I think the unreliable narrator is a fine device but I guess I’ve mostly seen it employed in cases where the narrator is self-deluded. Here, I felt that the narrator was simply hostile and by the end of the show I wondered why anyone would want to put themselves in this guy’s hands for a couple of hours. I ended up being a little sorry that I had.

Having said that, I found Tyhm Kennedy’s performance bracing and thought Bill Patton did an exceptional job directing. It’s kind of surprising to feel that way in a situation where I ended up not liking the play much. My full review should hit the magazine next week and maybe I’ll expound some more at that point if it seems worthwhile to do so.

As far as “Where the Wilds Things Are,” I was looking forward to seeing this because it seems like a movie that has polarized reviewers. Some have praised it for its lyrical and unflinching take on a young boy’s view of the world. Others have trashed it for any number of reasons, mostly I think for trying to take a 10 sentence long book and stretch it into a 90 minute movie.

Having seen the movie, I understand the response now. I was alternately entranced and frustrated by it. Max Records as the boy, Max, is fabulous and the early scenes I think do an exceptional job of capturing the mixed-up collection of impulses, both endearing and infuriating, that make up a 9-year old boy. Max’s first discovery of the Wild Things is amazing – a little scary, a lot confusing, and a little bit magical. But a lot of the second half of the movie meanders with not much verve and too much pensive moony-eyed moments thinking about sadness and uncertainty. Still, it was hard for me not to love the work of Lauren Ambrose, as endearing as she ever was on Six Feet Under even if was just her voice.

Tomorrow’s the madness of “Sound of Music” auditions at Short Pump Town Center and then a little stroll down “Avenue Q.” It’s also closing weekend for CAT’s “Rappaport” and Sycamore Rouge’s “40 Acres.” As much as I’d like to catch either of them, I think if I get to another show this weekend, it’s going to be the Richmond Improv Festival. The 4 o’clock show’s only $6.50 for students! And if you’re going to be downtown for “Avenue Q” anyway, well, why not?

1 comment:

eraserhead said...

Sound of Music auditions turned out to be magic, not madness. Barksdale, their volunteers, and their sponsors made every child feel special.