[WARNING: The following review contains spoilers and naughty language.]
Poor Josh. Our original Bro on Broadway had never seen a play in his life when he crossed paths with TheaterMania--so we sent him to a French period romance play written in verse. We recognize now how brutal that was, and were relieved when Josh said he'd be "down" to get back to Broadway anytime.
This week, Macin--Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu champion, online dating expert (though bro is single) and ridiculous human being--takes on Broadway's starry revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A classic American play featuring bombshell beauty Scarlett Johansson, a football player, and a ton of booze? It seemed like a bromance in the making.
Bro: Josh Maccon
Last Show Seen: Cyrano de Bergerac
Show Reviewed: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
[Josh enthusiastically prefers the "re" spelling of theater. It reportedly makes him feel smart.]
Walking into the Richard Rodgers Theatre for my second Broadway play, or not Broadway play, ever, I realized just how out of place I was. Everyone reeked of money and sophistication, and the ticket prices exceeded the amount of money in my bank account. But just before the show started, two women who looked like they had money were kicked out of their prime, front row real estate for stealing seats from two other women who also looked like they had money—I don't understand theatre people.
The show started with Maggie [Scarlett Johansson] bitching non-stop at her husband Brick [Benjamin Walker], who was gimping on a broken ankle. I immediately thanked god I was on Ritalin. In the first 30 minutes of the show, which was all complaining about sex, only three significant thoughts entered my head:
1. The furniture in this bedroom is absolutely stellar.
2. Maggie is nothing to write home about. I thought Scarlet Johansson was supposed to be super-hot?
3. I have never seen someone milk an ankle injury worse than Brick. Is he really thrashing his whole body around over an ankle? I broke both ankles when I was a child and never behaved that way.
I noted that Maggie told Brick she liked sleeping with him because he was an "indifferent lover" and decided to try his "indifferent" approach later. (It didn't yield the same results.) Aside from that I had virtually no idea what was going on.
The play is three hours long and it was difficult to focus. I can hardly tell you what they were all talking about besides "mendacity" and "spastic colon," which I understood to be Southern for "explosive diarrhea." I know there was a lot of discussion about Big Daddy's [Ciaran Hinds] inheritance—the entire family told him he was diagnosed with the Hershey Squirts when in reality he was dying of terminal cancer—and Brick's alcohol problem. (Brick crushes whiskey. He would have been a star in my frat.) Big Daddy can't stand the sight, sound and smell of his aggressive wife, Big Momma [Debra Monk], but it still with her and complaining about it. It just seemed like everyone was complaining all the time, but maybe that's how it is in the South.
It also seemed that Brick, Maggie, and this dude "Skipper" had a threesome or something, and Skipper killed himself shortly after. Between that, the erectile dysfunction, and his dead best friend wanting his "D," I really started to question Brick's sexual orientation.
Now, in the beginning Maggie was so loud and obnoxious I couldn't appreciate her. But when she started calming down I realized how beautiful she was. It honestly felt like voodoo, because I went from thinking she was mildly attractive to being obsessed with the thought of sleeping with her. I've never had that happen to me without alcohol.
I ultimately assumed Maggie was supposed to be the "cat on a hot tin roof" because I didn't see any cats and she was by far the most uncomfortable character. She had this chicken-or-the-egg type scenario: Was she upset and talking all the time because she couldn't get pregnant because her husband had whiskey d***? Or did Brick drink endlessly and not get it up because his wife wouldn't shut up? Food for thought.
I thought the acting was great from Maggie, Big Daddy and Gooper [Michael Park], who were definitely the easiest to pay attention to. I despised all the kids ["no neck monsters"] and hated Brick, and the pathetic way he was thrashing around on that ankle. I thought they should actually give him real drinks instead of food-colored water so he would loosen up.
Anyway, all the talk of mendacity in the show makes me want to be brutally honest:
1. I had to look up what "mendacity" meant.
2. This show was f****** awful. How can you only have one bedroom be the set of the entire play?! Yeah, the furniture was nice, but not three hours nice.
3. I was told this play is considered a masterpiece—an "American classic." Well, I couldn't care less about seeing an American classic. Entertainment and how much you enjoy it are dependent on your emotions at the time and your own background, not whether something is a "classic." The whole thing makes me more confused about theatre--if more than 50% of the audience honestly enjoyed the show then I am just a weird person. Though I did meet a nice guy outside the theater who said he contemplated suicide three times during the play. [Ed's Note: The aforementioned conversation did happen.]
That guy hit the nail on the head. If all American classic plays are like this then consider this my last review, because it was absolute torture.