Thursday, February 08, 2007

Were Critics Faithful To Betrayal?

Were Critics Faithful To Betrayal?

Last Sunday, immediately before Chicago football fans felt betrayed by their beloved Bears in Super Bowl XLI, Steppenwolf Theatre aficianados had their own taste of Betrayal as the classic Harold Pinter play opened that afternoon. Chicago's two leading critics were mixed in their reviews.

In recommending the production, Chicago Sun Times' Hedy Weiss notes: "[I]n a sharply etched revival by Steppenwolf Theatre, Betrayal unspools in reverse time with various crucial stops along the way as events between the years 1968 and 1977 come into sharp focus...The story...lacks nothing in specificity or in the web of emotions it conjures....Rick Snyder, a most sensitive director, has cast a trio of actors whose maturity easily feeds the past lives of these Pinter characters. (Tracy) Letts...brings a gravitas and terrific sharklike bite to every line; (Ian) Barford...suggests Jerry's mix of charm, weakness and all-around tentativeness. And actress-director (Amy) Morton...expertly suggests the many thoughts that remain suppressed in Emma, whether she is in the company of her husband or her lover."

Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune is not quite as kind: "Snyder's new version has so much anger and pain simmering below every upper-middle-class line that you half-expect someone to take a bite out of someone's throat. Letts and Morton, the noir Hepburn and Tracy of the Steppenwolf stage, have dangerous, razor-sharp, don't-mess-with-me edges. They're skilled actors of self-evident complexity, and they know every strength and weak spot of each other. This greatly enlivens the play, and at times undermines it....Pinter at least leaves open the chance that a betrayal can make us happy. A chance. Not here."

You may also click here to view my review of Betrayal, which is set to grace Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre stage through May 27.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Betrayal (The SOB Review) - Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre, Chicago, IL (February 6, 2007)
Steppenwolf's Betrayal Opens Today (February 4, 2007)

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At 18 February, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Chris Jones has the ability to critique theater - after all - it must be difficult to see and hear with his head so far up his ass!

At 20 February, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, I'll allow this one to remain live. But for future postings, please refrain from use of vulgarities!

As for Chris Jones, well, he does seem to have an inexplicable ax to grind when it comes to Steppenwolf.

At 14 May, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stopped paying attention to Chris Jones ever since he panned a play simply because it "lacked a moral center". Apparently that is his litmus test.

At 14 May, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

To which show did he ascribe that pan?


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