Tuesday, February 6, 2007
J.M. Barrie's Mary Rose is a beautiful play, full of poetry and lyricism. Tina Landau's production for the Vineyard Theatre highlights this by having the formidable Keir Dullea read Barrie's lush stage directions to the audience between scenes. They read like a novel. Sadly, Landau's rendering suffers from some major miscasting: celebrity scion Paige Howard is all wrong for the title role of a young woman who vanished from a mystical Scottish island as a girl, only to return rather touched twenty days later with no recollection of what happened. Howard could not maintain her British accent to save her life, and seemed quite uncomfortable onstage. Despite some fine moments in the play's gorgeous final scene, it's an uneven and regrettable performance, and I spent most of the play wishing that Samantha Soule wasn't tied up doing The Voysey Inheritance. However, other fine performances abound, most notably Dullea and Darren Goldstein, as Mary Rose's adoring husband. More than ever, though, the play really is the thing. Get yourself down to Union Square and marvel at what dramatic language can achieve.