Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Behanding in Spokane

Last week I was fortunate enough to see the opening night of "A Behanding in Spokane." I have never seen a play by Martin McDonagh before (though I saw "In Bruges," and I've read some of his plays). And it has been many years since I saw Christopher Walken in "Hamlet" at Stratford, Connecticut.
If the point of the play is to be a tour de force for Walken, it is certainly that. He completely embodies Carmichael- you don't doubt him for a second. And Sam Rockwell as the desk clerk of the fleabag hotel his wonderful (the Times review considers his monologue the best writing in the play- they may be right). What works much less well is the young couple trying to pull something over on Carmichael, Marilyn (Zoe Kazan) and Toby (Anthony Mackie). The casting may be the problem, as well as the writing and the direction. Zoe Kazan starts out screechy and general; her vocal quality changes, but little else. Anthony Mackie seems like a talented actor, but this role didn't play to his strengths.

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