Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Old Acquaintance

This is a really fun show for a summer evening. The acting is great, the sets are magnificent and John van Druten’s 1940 play doesn’t really even seem dated. My friend Carolyn Hearn who went with me and is an even harsher critic than I enjoyed it too. I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t.
The play is one of those sophisticated comedies about two longtime friends, Kit, a writer of “good” books, the kind that receive much praise but little money, and Milly, the prolific author of junky best-selling romances. What keeps “Old Acquaintance” from being just another predictable, silly -- dated -- comedy are the sharp script and the ensemble, but most especially Margaret Colin who plays Kit. She stands out just as she did in “Defiance,” for which she won a Drama Desk nomination. Every word, gesture, facial expression and movement are so real. No matter who else was on stage or what else was happening, she was the center of attention for me.
Harriet Harris is certainly first rate as Milly, but hers is the low comedy, slapstick role -- which she does beautifully -- but it’s not the kind of part that makes her seem believable as a person.
And then there’s Alexander Dodge’s sets. They’re so spectacular they receive generous applause the first time the curtain rises on each. One even receives a laugh when a shelf of books in Kit’s book-lined living room is pulled down to reveal a well-stocked bar. Oh those 40s comedies and their cocktail drinking characters!
Enjoy this show while you can. It closes Aug. 19.

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