Friday, October 13, 2006

Did Losing Louie Win With Critics?

Did Losing Louie Win With Critics?

Last evening marked the Broadway opening of the second play of the season, Simon Mendes da Costa's Losing Louie. With few exceptions, most critics slammed this British import.

In awarding the play 3 stars, USA Today's Elysa Gardner states: "The resulting twists and turns are more evocative of a smart sitcom than a drama that graduate students will be analyzing in years to come. But as briskly directed by Jerry Zaks, this Manhattan Theatre Club production offers a thoroughly diverting couple of hours. Mark Linn-Baker's sweet-and-sour Tony is as convincing as he is entertaining, while Michele Pawk reveals the grit and heart beneath Sheila's trashy surface."

In offering up 2 1/2 stars, Clive Barnes at the New York Post also sees the glass as half-full, noting, "da Costa's writing, given every chance to shine by Jerry Zaks' smooth staging and the cast, is often engaging. Linn-Baker, his very face a sliding scale of defiantly abject failure, makes the most of the play's meatiest role, but (Matthew) Arkin also scores as the hard-nut of a trial lawyer....This is only da Costa's second staged play, and its promise is such that it makes you look forward to, say, his fifth."

But most critics were like Charles Isherwood of The New York Times, who panned the British import saying, "It seems that, in the interest of parity, we are now required to welcome to our shores the worst of the (British) lot too. Hence Losing Louie, the dull-witted and vulgar comedy-drama."

Joining Isherwood, is New York's Daily News' Joe Dziemianowicz: "Simon Mendes da Costa's comedy about a family funeral, which opened last night on Broadway, is big on sex and sex talk but short on laughs."

David Rooney of Variety seems to agree: "The corpse in this U.S. premiere of Brit playwright Simon Mendes da Costa's stunningly minor work is the embalmed Manhattan Theater Club production -- though whether it might have had more life in other hands is debatable."

The Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout joins the chorus of boos: "If you think Broadway doesn't produce enough unfunny comedies of its own, you'll be happy to hear that Simon Mendes da Costa's Losing Louie has made its way from London to the Manhattan Theatre Club's Biltmore Theatre, where it came perilously close to putting me to sleep."

Suddenly, an eleven week run sounds awfully long.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Mendes da Costa's Losing Louie Opens Tonight on Broadway (October 12, 2006)

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