Thursday, May 03, 2012

My Life at the Theater: Inherit the Wind

We saw this one at the Lyceum Theater in New York in 2007. Two great actors (Plummer and Dennehy) do not make a great play. About the Scopes Trial, of course, this play was inert, dated, dull. Who can really make a case for creationism?

I think the critics agreed with us. Wish I had seen it after the review!

From the NYT.

"Still, for this play to be the crackling courtroom drama it was intended to be, we need to feel the force of Drummond’s opposition. And not one soul on the side of creationism in this revival, directed by Doug Hughes, has a flicker of Mr. Plummer’s fire. Sadly, that includes the estimable Mr. Dennehy, the two-time Tony winner who plays Drummond’s formidable adversary, Matthew Harrison Brady, a character inspired by the grandiloquent politician William Jennings Bryan.

This glaring imbalance means that “Wind” never musters much more velocity than that of a drugstore fan. Mr. Hughes, whose credits include the gripping Broadway productions of “Doubt” and “Frozen,” has made a stilted attempt to reconceive the play as a sort of Brechtian exercise."

I get to see Plummer again this summer at Stratford and saw Dennehy at Stratford last year in THE HOMECOMING.


Richard R. said...

I'd bet there are plenty of Tea Party types who would argue for creationism still, but the play was a product of the times.

Anonymous said...

I remember this one got bad reviews. I was surprised they revived it. There was a 1999 TV movie version with Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott that wasn't that great either. Of course I've seen the 1960 version with Spencer Tracy and Fredric March.

Like you, I hate it when we get tickets for a show that turns out to be a bomb. We once got tickets for a show that ran for one performance! It was so bad that I had to hold my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. We left at intermission. It was called FAME by Anthony Ingrassia, which had 8 previews and 1 performance in November 1974. I believe it had something to do with Marilyn Monroe.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We have too. Maybe I;'ll do that next week-THE SECRET RAPTURE.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I've always liked Christopher Plummer. That said though, you definitely have to have "oomph" on both sides of a case to have a good courtroom story.

Todd Mason said...

Well, Lawrence and Lee were always a lower-rent version of Arthur Miller as playwrights, and Miller was entirely too often no great Shakes. L&L did their best work, perhaps, in apparently cofounding the Armed Forces Radio Network...though I read THE NIGHT THOREAU SPENT IN JAIL with mild enjoyment when I was a kid.

Deb said...

Don't forget "Auntie Mame"!

When my husband was earning his Masters of Professional Writing at USC in the 1980s, Jerome Lawrence was his adviser and he was a wonderfully supportive man. He had a lovely home, full of theatrical memorabilia, in the Malibu Hills. Sadly, it burned during one of the L.A. fires. I often wonder if losing his house and its contents contributed to Lawrence's death not long after.