REVIEW: It’s Only A Play (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, NY)

First off, and unusually for me, there are a couple of real damning negatives that I need to get off my chest.

Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally did not appear tonight – the ensuing chaos outside the theatre in the freezing cold rain was, frankly, like the scene in Miss Saigon where everyone is scrambling for the helicopter out of Vietnam. It was absolute chaos. Theatre staff did absolutely nothing to control the situation, or indeed provide information to anyone, and they really should have asked people to wait to one side (I estimate a couple of hundred), rather than everyone pushing and shoving and getting in the way of the people who truly appreciate theatre, and know that you come for the show, and not the star.

In fact, the only time I was aware of the absences properly was when I opened my Playbill – that is how little they bothered to try and get information out to people. When you have the cheek to charge $165 (£105) plus fees for a second tier priced ticket, you do not treat your patrons with such contempt! Absolutely disgusting experience in my opinion – if you’re going to play with big name casting, at least know how to manage it, and I, for one, would like to have an explanation for the absences – we give our email addresses, surely there could have been a mail-out – it’s just common courtesy. As they didn’t bother to do this, I’m afraid that I am not prepared to accept any excuse from the theatre on how they mishandled the situation, as they, frankly, made a rod for their own back. Incompetents.

… and now on to the show…!

The show itself is cleverly written, with gags that can easily be interchanged based on current events etc.

In terms of the ‘celebrity’ casting, I had been really looking forward to Stockard Channing, and she absolutely didn’t disappoint. Everyone else was acceptable, Matthew Broderick without Nathan Lane is like Thanksgiving with no turkey (see what I did there??), the genius spark that comes to each when they’re bouncing off each other just didn’t ignite in his absence. In fact, Micah Stock (who is billed as a lowly ‘and’) was my favourite actor of the night, I have to say!

The show managed to keep my attention but it really did seem to be just a cash cow for the producers.

I’m surprised to say it, but I really cannot endorse this production.

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About Gari

Thirty-One year old northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

3 Responses

  1. Your reaction to this situation reminds me of the difference between the Met Opera and the Royal Opera House.
    If an opera star is indisposed, ROH goes to great lengths to ensure that patrons are aware. As you mention in this article – they have the ticket holders’ email addresses! On the other hand Met Opera is completely cavalier, thinking nothing of waiting until the 4000 patrons are seated before springing the surprise that a star is absent. It’s almost as if they could advertise whoever they like to sell the tickets then change casting later.
    It’s interesting that you as a UK resident are accustomed to the good manners and surprised by the poor treatment when this reflects my exact experience with the respective opera houses. One day, hopefully all theatres will treat audiences with respect – but I’m not holding my breath!

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