Saturday, October 6, 2007


I broke a vow to myself last night. I had said I wasn’t going to anymore Manhattan Theatre Club productions at the Biltmore. They are consistently disappointing, to downright dreadful. I broke that vow because of the cast, specifically F. Murray Abraham whom I haven’t seen on stage since the early 1980s when I saw him as Cyrano at my beloved CenterStage in Baltimore. That production and his performance were so marvelous I went back twice.

I also knew Alison Pill to be a new actor to watch, having seen her last season in “Blackbird.”

Unfortunately, neither has much to work with here. Both play one-dimensional characters, as do the rest of the cast in Theresa Rebeck’s play. And that’s just what I usually find wrong with MTC’s Broadway productions, mediocre to bad plays.

The plot revolves, and I use that word loosely, around two half-sisters fighting over the right to a rare stamp collection. The play is probably supposed to be a dark comedy, but the pace is far too slow to sustain a comedy and there is nothing funny, dark or otherwise, about the dialogue.

It certainly isn’t a drama because of the flat characters, clichéd scenarios and lack of relationships between these five people who just happen to inhabit the same stage.

One thing that did stand out as top notch were the self-changing sets by John Lee Beatty. They were a marvel to watch.

At least “Mauritius” wasn’t as bad as others I’ve seen there that had me fleeing the theatre at intermission, never to return. I kept hoping, faintly, that it would get better.

It didn’t.

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