BY Brandon Voss
March 29 2010 1:10 PM ET
You may think you know The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams’s 1944 memory play, but director Gordon Edelstein has tricks in his pocket. In Roundabout’s staging, which haunts the Laura Pels Theatre through June 13, our narrator, Tom, conjures the St. Louis tenement of his youth from his New Orleans hotel room, a concept established by Tom’s typing, reading, and mouthing other characters’ lines. As his smothering mother Amanda, Designing Women’s Judith Ivey cashes in on the role’s comedy without cheapening it one cent, but the real revelation here is Patch Darragh’s notably gay take on Tom. No question this swish is hitting gay bars instead of movies, and when his sister’s gentleman caller arrives I’d argue that Tom, who fans himself in “ooh, honey, did it just get hot in here?” fashion, seems more smitten than she is.
Praised for off-Broadway’s naturalistic Our Town revival, out director David Cromer lends his thoughtful, tender touch to Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling, which dries up April 18 at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Set in London and Australia, this exquisite drama skips around between 1959 and 2039 to examine identity-defining moments within one family’s haunting history, which includes a homosexual pedophile. The play opens with a fish falling from the sky at a time when fish are extinct. Another scene has the characters, some younger and older versions of a person existing in different places and times, simultaneously slurping fish soup at the same table. Sound fishy? It does require patience, but the puzzling pieces fit perfectly in the end — and all on two revolving turntables that put Les Miz to shame.
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