Did Critics Kiss-Off Spiderwoman?
Praising the show for its "tight, seductive embrace," The Evening Standard
's Nicholas de Jongh
nevertheless manages to point out its shortcomings in his four-out-of-five star critique: "Charlotte Westenra
's production cannot disguise the drama's musty air of contrivance or the repetitiveness of its allegoric sub-plot about Molena's love of old B movies. It is these qualities that encourage me to liken the play to an artful, culinary concoction....[T]he play is possessed by tension, irony and a sexual attraction that these fabulous actors render real and poignant. Puig's plea for feminine gay men like Molena does strike humane, timeless notes."
Citing the work as "an intelligent, complex piece," Benedict Nightingale
of The Times
is mostly positive: "does the two-hander merit the revival that Charlotte Westenra gives it now? Yes, though I don't know why she cuts the original ending, for the effect is like stopping Hamlet just before the killer-duel with Laertes....Still, it’s finely acted and, at its denouement, as touching as it was back in 1985."
Grousing that the play is "just a little bit schematic," Rhoda Koenig
of The Independent
only offers two out of five stars: "When Manuel Puig's novel was written, it was notable for its bravery in attacking his country's fascism and showing a despised type as heroic. Now the plot's predictability is obvious, and is emphasised by the author's adaptation (very well translated by Allan Baker
), which simplifies the story even more.... More predictable stories than Puig's have been redeemed by passion, but not this one, this time."
Calling the revival "full of musty metaphor and unearned intensity," the Guardian
's Susannah Clapp
mostly carps: "[I]t looks merely like an acting opportunity. Charlotte Westenra's production pushes the buttons of torrid claustrophobia -- yellow light filtered through a screen, silhouettes of uniformed figures at the cell door, distant guitar chords -- without evoking real threat. Will Keen
gives a bravura performance."
Kiss Of The Spiderwoman runs through May 26 before touring the United Kingdom.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Labels: Critics' Capsule, Donmar Warehouse, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, London, Play, Revival