‘Carnage’ proves a powerful piece

'God' cast, Ephron gals elevate theater

What does “God of Carnage” mean and what are you to expect from a night in the theater that includes the TV superstar, James Gandofini, the Oscar-&-Tony winner Marcia Gay Harden, our old friend from the Purple Rose Theater — the journeyman actor Jeff Daniels and the N.Y. Film Critics winner and character woman of all work Hope Davis?

I’ll tell you what the title means; it indicates the historical way the all-powerful creator has treated miserable little human beings throughout history. And with this in mind, these four adept actors give us — human nature at its best, its worst and its most hysterical. Under the direction of Matthew Warchus, they interact together like a Mozart quartet breaking apart at the seams. Each actor is superb, their interaction like perfect clockwork and each is someone you know and love; maybe you yourself.

Don’t let anyone tell you what “God of Carnage” is about. Don’t let anyone spoil it explaining plot to you. Just go, fasten your seat belt and sit there for the bumpy night as these fabulous talents enact Yasmina Reza’s play as translated by Christopher Hampton. (Playwright Reza previously wrote “Art” but that has nothing to do with this!)

This comedy of grown people holding back and letting go is one of the funniest things I’ve encountered in 60 years of Broadway! Don’t miss “God of Carnage” at the Bernie Jacobs Theater in New York City!

I’m no expert on the American theater; just a big fan. And I don’t have money to invest. But if I had any dough, I’d offer it to the writers Nora and Delia Ephron and their producer Daryl Roth and their director Karen Carpenter and the author Ilene Beckerman.

Nora, Delia and pals have been presenting their adaptation, a “reading” which presents a part of Ilene’s book “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” and the Ephrons’ own original ideas about women and clothes. This has been running for a number of weeks down at the D.R. 2 theater on 15th Street. They managed to inveigle a cast of diverse and ever-changing talents to “read” the Ephron-created version. The night I saw it, the actors were Tyne Daly, Rosie O’Donnell, Samantha Bee, Veanne Cox and Lucy DeVito. They were all simply splendid. On other nights, other worthies have and will volunteer for duty. This was all ostensibly a benefit for the Actors Fund and I sent in my widow’s mite check accordingly — I was satisfied and delighted.

This play/reading/polemic is so funny and so powerful, so dear and sweet, so remindful of our female wiles, our worries, our insecurities, our remembrances of mother, father, sisters, brothers, lovers — I think it can’t miss. Let’s say they get it up and running with the actors seated “reading” their parts. Maybe big stars like Tyne and Rosie can’t “commit” for long runs. It hardly matters; other fabulous talents will take their places. Audiences will be enthralled, riveted, laughing, crying, recognizing, rejoicing in the voices that remember what they wore when, what their families said, how their pals reacted and how their marriages, divorces, romances resulted.

It’s sweet and saucy. This is an evening that goes directly to the heart, soul and vanity of every woman, young or old. The Ephron girls have touched our funny bones over the years, mended or predicted our broken hearts, commiserated over our bodies, made us laugh and get over it. Now we just have to line up at the box office.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety