Friday, October 11, 2013

Thoughts on The Winslow Boy

I'm so tired, I sometimes I feel like I'm dying.  It seems like the work never ends - I thought after we got back from Chicago that the work would slow down.  Not so much.  I feel as if I'm on a hamster wheel of meetings and seminars and concerts and event planning.  Stop the world, I want to get off!  :)   Not really, but a break would be nice.  Of course, this week, I had two work events, back to back, and if I were a smart person, I wouldn't have purchased a TDF ticket to a preview of Roundabout's revival of The Winslow Boy.  But, I think we've established over the last few years, when it comes to scheduling my time and buying tickets, I'm rarely smart.

When I got to the American Airlines Theatre last night, I was drop dead beat.  But I was also really looking forward to the show - it features two of my uber-favorite stage actors, Roger Rees and Michael Cumpsty, and other actors who I've enjoyed in the past, like Alessandro Nivola and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.  I also generally greatly enjoy a Terrence Rattigan play and knew that Roundabout would give this a quality revival.  Happily, I was not wrong.  [Any production photos that follow are from the Roundabout's Facebook page and were taken by Joan Marcus.  My standard disclaimer applies.]
I picked up my ticket and found out I was in the front row.  Yikes!  Not only the front row, but front row center.  Then I saw the sign in the lobby telling me the show was over two and a half hours long.  I suddenly panicked that I would fall asleep during the show and Roger Rees would get mad at me.  I needn't have worried.  The Winslow Boy is beautifully put together, so moving and just a cracking good story.  It doesn't open until next week, so I won't go on for too long, since they're probably still working and refining.  But I thought the production was first-rate.  In fact, it was so good, I was a little too hopped up on happy theater vibes and couldn't fall asleep when I got home! 

Based on true events, The Winslow Boy starts with the story of Ronnie Winslow, a boy who's been expelled from his military school for stealing, but it's really about how his family rallies (or not) around him.  All of the actors have created a strong, believeable family unit and you really felt their devotion to Ronnie and each other.  I was so moved throughout at the sacrifices each was willing to make for the other.
The entire cast is wonderful, but Roger Rees is simply spectacular.  This is one of the most complete, layered, heartbreaking performances I've seen.  I felt all of his pride, stubborness, love, regret, pain.  So much was going on and he made me cry more than once.  It's just an amazing performance and it's one I'll remember for a long time.  His final scene?  Magic. Exquisite.  I feel so privileged to have been there, and, was actually glad to be in the front row to see all the stunning layers up close.
As always with a Roundabout revival of a classic, the attention to detail was terrific.  The physical production was gorgeous and much attention was placed on period.  I enjoyed all of the little touches and am ever so glad I saw this show.  I laughed, I cried, I swooned and I helped the woman next to me fix her Kindle.  A pretty complete evening, if you ask me.  Head over to The Winslow Boy.  You'll be glad you did.

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