from the edi­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - CONTENTS - Deb­o­rah Jones

FROM our dis­tant per­spec­tive Broad­way tends to get the broad-brush treat­ment, en­vis­aged more as a state of be­ing than a di­verse col­lec­tion of the­atri­cal events. The name is syn­ony­mous with big, noisy mu­si­cals that boom or bust with much fan­fare. True, the list of most pop­u­lar shows is skewed to­wards the likes of Wicked (at the top nine years af­ter open­ing), The Lion King (15 years old), Phantom of the Opera, which wan­ders in and out of the top 10 de­spite hav­ing hit its quar­ter-cen­tury, and Spi­der-Man: Turn Off

the Dark, which over­came long and difficult birth pangs to be­come a crowd-mag­net. But 10 days on the ground re­cently of­fered a more com­plex and heart­en­ing pic­ture. The David Ives play

Venus in Fur — one set, two ac­tors — was ig­nited by Nina Arianda in an in­can­des­cent, Tony award-win­ning per­for­mance; James Cor­den is in charge of metic­u­lously con­trolled may­hem in One

Man, Two Gu­vnors (he also won a Tony); and a small not-for-profit the­atre on 42nd Street pre­sented the Bri­tish play Cock — four ac­tors, no set, no props — in a minia­ture arena across which one could see the ab­sorbed faces of the other pa­trons. In Peter and the Starcatcher, the big­gest pro­duc­tion in this group, a set of mul­ti­tal­ented ac­tors told the back story of Peter Pan us­ing lit­tle more than their con­sid­er­able phys­i­cal and ver­bal skills. Imag­i­na­tion, in­tel­li­gence and zest reigned, and it was thrilling. In­ter­est­ingly, this year’s best mu­si­cal Tony went to Once, a small, del­i­cate piece that fea­tures ac­tor-mu­si­cians play­ing as if mu­sic were as nat­u­ral to them as life it­self. It was an ad­mit­tedly quiet year, but a win is a win. It means au­di­ences are seek­ing out this lit­tle pocket of calm in which two peo­ple make mu­sic, and kind of fall in love. Wicked it ain’t.

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