On Broadway, a revival of Skylight, by David Hare, at the Golden Theatre, features two fine English actors, Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy, directed by Stephen Daldry. The original production in 1996 was a resounding success.. Time has not treated the play well. In an overlong, unbelievable play, the actors suffer from wearing ugly costumes, (except Nighy's tailored suit), bare feet, in a dilapidated apartment, in a a low income a housing project. Mulligan, a teacher, spends most of the play cooking unappetizing dishes. Nighy, now a widower, and a wealthy restauranteur, who once had an affair with Mulligan, makes an unexpected visit to renew their love affair. He spends most of his time with his back to the audience, fiddling with his coat, which he rarely removes, and wiping his face and hair. His mannerisms are atrocious, and it is unpleasant to watch. Matthew Beard, as Nighy' son, appears in the first and last scene. He shouldn't. In the last ridiculous scene, he brings an expensive party breakfast, hamper full of delicious food. By the way, lots of things are thrown to the floor, among them a kitchen drawer, and the teacher's students' examination books. It is a dispiriting night in the theatre, which was once known as kitchen sink drama. Although, the playwright writes intelligent plays, this one should remain in the sink.
Producer Margo Lion was honored at the Vineyard Annual Gala, at the Edison Hotel Ballroom. Among the guests were John Waters, Matthew Morrison and Betty Buckley.
Producer Fran Weissler and actress Sarah Paulson were honored at the MCC Theatre's Miscast Gala at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Among the guests were Lily Rabe, Joshua Henry and Assif Mandvi, who hosted the show.
I attended a Meet-N-Greet for the cast and creative team of 39 Steps, which opens on April 13, at the Union Square Theater. It is a marvelous production, which I have already reviewed twice. I look forward to enjoying it again on opening night.
I attended a Meet-N-Greet for the cast and creative team of MCC Theater's Permission, by Robert Askins, which opens on May 19 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, starring Justin Bartha and Elizabeth Reaser. I eagerly await the opening night.
MoMA presents Josef von Sternberg's
The Devil Is a Woman from March 30-April 5. The film, directed by von Sternberg, USA, 1935, was his seventh collaboration with Marlene Dietrich. She never looked more glamorous. She is irresistible. She plays a singer at a Carnival in Spain at the beginning of the twentieth century, and attracts many lovers, including Lionel Atwill, Cesar Romero and Edward Everett Horton, among others. The screenplay by John dos Passos is witty, and the actors perform excellently. It is a silly romantic story, which delights the viewer.
Film Forum presented a press screening of Dior and I, by Frederic Tcheng, USA, 2014. which opens on April 10 at the Film Forum. The filmmaker was allowed to follow the new artistic director, Raf Simons, in 2012, for six weeks, as he prepared his first fashion show, for the House of Dior, his first ever haute collection. Fortunately, he was surrounded by many of the legendary seamstresses and other workers, who had worked with the legendary fashion designer for forty years. For fashion enthusiasts, they will delight in seeing a collection come to life.
Effie Gray, by Richard Laxton, UK, 2014, is a costume drama about the famous nineteenth century art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), who marries a teenage Scottish girl (Dakota Fanning), who dreams of an exciting life in London. She is disenchanted, when she discovers that she is to live with his tyrannical father (David Suchet) and domineering mother (Julie Walters), and that her husband refuses to consummate the marriage, and dislikes social activities. She suffers many psychological and physical illnesses, and, eventually, receives an annulment of the marriage. She then marries her husband's protege, the Pre-Raphaelite painter, John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). The photography by Andrew Dunn of scenes in Scotland and Venice are lovely. The original screenplay by Emma Thompson is not. The film is slow moving, and rather dull, with a musical score by Paul Cantelon, which is loud, annoying and irritating. This is a shame, because the film is filled with a multitude of fine British actors, including Sir Derek Jacobi and James Fox.