×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Talk About Money

In "Talk About Money," a father and son square off about a business deal. And yet, while it's "all about business," it is, of course, all about everything else as well. Writer Bruce Goldsmith, a screenwriter and novelist presenting his first play, has a strong premise here, but it seems his idea of a play is to put two characters in a room, give them lots and lots of dialogue and not edit any of it.

With:
Father - John Saxon Son - Tom Astor

In “Talk About Money,” a father and son square off about a business deal. And yet, while it’s “all about business,” it is, of course, all about everything else as well. Writer Bruce Goldsmith, a screenwriter and novelist presenting his first play, has a strong premise here, but it seems his idea of a play is to put two characters in a room, give them lots and lots of dialogue and not edit any of it. As a result, the work drones on, and even the plot twists toward the end can’t salvage the evening.

John Saxon (“Nightmare on Elm Street”) plays a successful entrepreneur whose son (Tom Astor) has requested that he co-sign a loan. While the details of the business itself are never revealed, it doesn’t really matter; the real focus here is the father-son battle.

The business plan the son presents is basically sound, although the father won’t admit to that. As the son pleads, the father reveals himself to be a thoroughly selfish hypocrite, or, as he would argue, a very effective businessman. And toward the end, the son has a few surprises of his own, proving that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

There are moments when it appears this play will become a character study in mania, as the dialogue keeps returning to the same lines over and over. But it’s ultimately not a psychological subtlety of the writing so much as a symptom of poorly focused plotting.

The characters talk repeatedly about “starting from page one” of the business plan (although, thankfully, they never do), use the word “deal” scores of times and seem to tread water for the first hour.

Saxon gives a strong performance as a deeply neurotic and manipulative man who constantly urges his son to beg for his help even when he clearly has no intention of giving it, but the character reveals his monstrous underbelly way too early for any later sparks to be surprising. Astor demonstrates very little personality at all.

While the set, costumes and lighting here are all slick, Asaad Kelada’s direction fails to give the play shape, although the script itself is the primary culprit. For this play to work, we need to revel in two people who know each other inside and out manipulating one another mercilessly. But the father and son relationship here seriously lacks dimension; there’s no love to balance the competition. Ultimately, what comes across is an idea of a play rather than a play itself.

Talk About Money

Tiffany Theaters; 99 seats; $32.50 top

Production: A Judy Arnold presentation of a one-act play by Bruce Goldsmith. Director, Asaad Kelada

Cast: Father - John Saxon Son - Tom AstorSet, Tom Giamario; lighting, J. Kent Inasy; costumes, Betsy Heimann; music, Don Peake. Opened Oct. 15, 1999; reviewed Oct. 23. Running time: 1 HOUR, 40 MIN.

More Legit

  • Clueless review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical

    How does a musical stage adaptation of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film comedy of oblivious privileged teens, “Clueless,” play in the era of female empowerment and millennial engagement? True, the principal skills of lead teen Cher Horowitz are the superficial ones of mall shopping and makeovers. But her sweet spirit and independence, plus some added P.C. relevance, [...]

  • Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary,

    Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary, 'Hugo Cabret' Musical

    Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have unveiled Ley Line Entertainment with a Brian Wilson documentary and a “Hugo Cabret” musical in the works. Ley Line said it’s a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music. Headington financed and produced “The Young Victoria,” “Argo,” “Hugo,” and “World [...]

  • Daniel Radcliffe

    Listen: How Broadway Made Daniel Radcliffe a Better Actor

    Acting onstage has been a regular part of Daniel Radcliffe’s career for more than a decade — and the “Harry Potter” star says there’s a good reason for that: It’s made him better. “It gives me a lot of confidence as an actor, which is not always something that I’ve felt,” Radcliffe said on the [...]

  • The Jungle review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Jungle'

    With the rumbling of semis careening by and the sound of Middle Eastern music in the distance, “The Jungle” aims to vividly immerse audiences into the world of the real-life migrant and refugee camp of the same name. By telling the story of the Jungle’s creation in Calais, France, in 2015, and its eventual destruction [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • 'Network' Review: Bryan Cranston Stars on

    Broadway Review: 'Network' With Bryan Cranston

    The 1976 film “Network” won four Academy Awards, including best original screenplay for writer Paddy Chayefsky, for its blistering portrayal of an American society fueled by greed and bloated on corruption. A haggard Peter Finch took the best actor trophy for his harrowing performance as Howard Beale, a TV newsman who is so disgusted by [...]

  • Faye DunawayVanity Fair Oscar Party, Arrivals,

    Faye Dunaway to Play Katharine Hepburn on Broadway

    Faye Dunaway will return to Broadway to play another acting diva. The Oscar-winner is set to portray Katharine Hepburn in “Tea at Five,” a one-woman play that charts the movie legend’s career over the course of a winding monologue. Dunaway last appeared on Broadway in 1982’s “The Curse of the Aching Heart.” In the 1990s, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content