Monday, October 19, 2009
People still line up for Phantom of Opera? 44th Street was chock-a-block with people waiting to get into that, Finian’s Rainbow, and a couple of other matinee shows, including Hamlet on Saturday. I guess that last one really isn’t a “show,” more of a play, and hence sure not to play for years on Broadway. In fact, it’s only there until December, and only there at all because of its marquee performer, Jude Law. Anyway, we saw it with a full house. I gather reviews have been decidedly mixed, but we all enjoyed it. Thanks to M & M, we had second row seats, right up under the actors, who were in fine spittle. The matinee idol performed admirably as the Dane. He wasn’t great, but like the rest of the cast, he knows how to speak the Bard’s English, so the words, the blessed words, were well spoken. However, like Mel Gibson and Kenneth Branagh, both of whom made movie versions of the play, Law is too old for the part, so the callowness doesn’t scan. The graveyard scene, however, was affecting; this is where the child becomes an adult (in our culture of adolescence, sometimes this never even happens anymore), where the face of death (the “to be or not to be” soliloquy is just theory, after all) becomes real.
As one of Fortune’s privates, I often walk through that block of Union Street where the workers of the South Brooklyn Casket Co. wheel the vanity boxes to and fro, and think of poor Yorick and his infinite, but not really, jest.