Sunday, April 29, 2007

Did Critics Kiss-Off Spiderwoman?

Did Critics Kiss-Off Spiderwoman?

When I last checked in with the London revival of Manuel Puig's Kiss Of The Spiderwoman last Wednesday, the drama was about to open at Donmar Warehouse. Now that it has, it's time to review what the critics thought; the reviews were mixed.

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).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
London Spider Woman Revival Lays Web Tonight (April 25, 2007)

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At 23 June, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking about Manuel Puig: maybe the blogg will interest you!
I posted some interviews he made during 1968 and 1992. He was a complete GENIUS!
All these articles are part of the first multimedia-biography on CD-ROM about Puig: „Manuel Puig: Una aproximación biográfica". Buenos Aires 2008. ISBN 978-987-05-4332-9

More information and distribution via :

lots of saludos


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