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Posts Tagged ‘Caroline’

It’s a long way from the epic Angels in America to this – and I’m afraid it’s all downhill. I thought Tony Kushner was a major new playwright, but everything since Angels (with the exception of the musical Caroline, or Change) suggests he’s more of a one-hit-wonder. Only one of these five short plays really works – the rest is like Beckett on acid.

The first play has Albania’s Queen Zog with a fictional American musician on the moon. It’s preposterous, pointless and dreadfully over-acted. The second is a conversation between a lesbian therapist and her gay ex-client; I haven’t got a clue what it was about. The third takes an interesting true story of tax evasion but by presenting it as a breathless monologue I became so irritated that I stopped paying attention to the story. If you return after the interval (we did!) the fourth is another obtuse sketch about a man in paradise. The play that does work is the last one – a chilling tale where Laura Bush reads Dostoyevsky to dead Iraqi children. Sadly, this is too little to late.

I found a lot of the acting coarse, but given the material this may be excusable. Of course, it may be that I’m just thick, but it seems to me Kushner is following the well-worn path of others like Beckett, Pinter and Churchill; playwrights whose become minimalist with work so ambiguous, so obtuse and so obscure that they appear to be disappearing up their own backsides (or in this case, butt – he’s American). 

It’s also a long way from Minneapolis, but I have to be honest and say that from where I was sitting it was a wasted journey.

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