Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Eva Beware of the Brantley

Eva Beware of the Brantley

We'll never know for sure whether he simply had a terrible flight to London or a severe case of jetlag, but once again Ben Brantley of The New York Times has become the bug of the ball. Now Brantley is jeering the West End's new Evita just over a week after Michael Grandage's production opened to largely raving reviews. Perhaps he timed his disparaging review just in time for the Fourth of July, as if to prove his independence from his British colleagues. Brantley bristles very dismissively: "The whole enterprise is careful, polished and pious."

Even more calculated is his attack on Evita's Elena Roger, who has been quite universally praised as a major discovery in this titular role. Brantley sneers, "...the proficient Ms. Roger rarely projects that ravening hunger for adulation that does, after all, make some sense of a woman who first became famous as an actress. When she sings, 'You must love me,' toward the show's end, the imperative hangs limp and unanswerable."

Maybe Brantley just doesn't like to be told what to do, especially when the imperative is to love. As one artist whose work I've admired has duly noted, "I often think that theater reviewers take the word CRITIC too much to heart." Amen!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Evita to New York: I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You (June 28, 2006)
High Flying Adored: Evita Conquers the West End Critics (June 23, 2006)
Hello, Buenos Aires! New London Revival of Evita Opens Tonight (June 21, 2006)

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