Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Only... ...But I Didn't Really Like It

Theatre Review
Rock 'N Roll
A Play by Tom Stoppard
Goodman Theatre - Chicago

In theory, I love plays. I mean I admire the art form, and while I freely admit that I prefer musicals, I have seen over 150 plays and am sure to see many more. But the truth is, I'm sad to admit, that there have been relatively few plays that I have truly found phenomenal, even among those that have been well-reviewed and that others seem to like.

I don't know, maybe I'm just not smart enough to "get" a play in a single sitting, or I have ADD and tend to zone out somewhere, but if a play called Rock 'N Roll, written by a living legend like Tom Stoppard, is about Prague--which I've been to--and how rock music helped contribute to the end of Communism--which fascinates me--, and was lauded both on Broadway and in its Goodman production, doesn't do much for me, well, maybe I oughta stop playing.

I mean, the performers were good--including a Minneapolis actor named Stephen Yoakam who I had seen in 'Blackbird' when I visited the Twin Cities in November--and much of the writing showed Stoppard's obvious gifts, and I enjoyed the heavy allusions to Syd Barrett--who I've never appreciated enough--, and all the recorded music that was incorporated, from the Stones to the Beach Boys to U2, but I honestly spent most of the 2 hours & 45 minutes (way too long for a play if you ask me) waiting for it to end.

It wasn't awful, but it just wasn't all that. Nothing that will last, nothing that really taught me much (except to download The Piper at the Gates of Dawn). Oh well. I'm going to see The Lieutenant of Inishmore on Wednesday night, and I loved Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, so I have high hopes, but then, I'm much more excited about seeing Legally Blonde The Musical tomorrow night.

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