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November 28, 2006


tired playgoer

I wish someone, other than John Simon (who I usually vigorously disagree with, but not this time), would have done a more honest evaluation of the actors' performances in Voyage. There were definitely gaping problems with how certain actors were tackling Stoppard's language and O'Brien's negotation with those weak links. There were revelations too that were sadly given short shrift. Billy Crudup turned in one of the best performances of his career and elevated the character of Belinsky to something that artfully straddled comedy and intellectual passion ... but that seemed to be overlooked with most critical evaluations already judging the next two installments without looking at Voyage truly on its own merits (and demerits). Why is it that I trust UK critics more for an honest evaluation of this trilogy? Also, if one actor doesn't find himself another dialect coach quickly, Shipwreck will sound like a bad Bronx odyssey.

David Cote

I doubt that any of my colleagues were dishonest in their assessments, perhaps merely limited, as I was, in space. My TONY review was about 720 words and the NY1 one was 450. Now, I am guilty of poor-mouthing my space constraints and as a resourceful critic I ought to be able to explain the premise of a play and also get to the actors' performances, but I truly felt like I needed to give the greatest amount of space to the ideological and historical aspects of the piece, give an overall feel. Is Crudup amazing? Absolutely. Is Ethan Hawke surprisingly good? Yes. Is Brian F. O'Byrne sporting a weird sounding accent? Well, he's doing a flat American accent, and he has a peculiar chesty timbre that sounds like he's shouting/on the verge of going hoarse. Sure, it's a little odd on the ear, but I didn't let it distract me. I like Richard Easton a lot, and goodness knows he's had medical problems lately, but I sometime wish for more colors (although he was a hoot in The Rivals). In the end, I felt that most of the actors were on the same page, pulling together, whichever grouply metaphor you like (minus David Harbour - real disappointment there). I personally didn't have the time to carefully dissect each role. That's what blogs are for.

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