Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

27 April 2004


I spent this evening with Kim.  I was supposed to be there with L. Bisesti, but I was relieved to find out that Kim was going and I wasn't going to be stranded and alone the way I was at The Wind Cries Mary.  So I met Linda and some folks from some class of hers for The Royal Family at the Ahmanson Theatre.  I could write a review, but the play was really too boring for all of that.

I have no idea why someone would want to produce an enormous, bloated show like this one.  I liked Kate Mulgrew, and I would have seen Marian Seldes in anything, but most of the actors wouldn't have known funny if it but them.  The main problem is the direction.  The director can't decide what the Hell to do with this enormous cast and this enormous set and this ancient play.  So it's a period piece played as if it were a satire written last year.  What I'm saying is that, on paper, it's a witty, clever, very funny, very fast paced play, but in this production, it attempts to be a witty, clever, not-so-funny critique of 1920s theatre people.  It fails.  Miserably.

High points: there are FOUR dogs on stage, all of them live, none of them ever bark, and all of them perform perfectly.  One of the best bits in the show is early on when Seldes bends down and picks up a tiny little dog that has been sitting on a chair for at least ten minutes and has been so still and quiet that you hadn't even noticed the little pooch was there until she was in Seldes' arms. 

There is another really transcendent moment at the very very end, but it's mostly nonsense.  Biggest criticism of the show, and I know this is an easy one to make: everyone in this play is exactly the same at the end as they were at the beginning.  It's all very "ho ho ho" and "isn't life clever" but I wasn't sold at all, and neither was Kim, or even Linda for that matter.

I was an awful boor to poor Kim tonight.  I apologize.  Sorry for all the complaining.  I guess I need to get out more.  One glass of Reisling and I'm waxing on about futures and companies and friendships and a whole lot of personal B.S.

Meeting with Zamora tomorrow at 8:00p.  Break a leg to all those in Cloud 9.  I need to finish reading Shrew again before I see this guy.