REVIEW ROUNDUP: Jason Butler Harner, Jason O'Mara, et al. Open Lanford Wilson's Serenading Louie at Donmar Warehouse
The work centers on two college friends, Carl and Alex, who are struggling to deal with the harsh realities of adulthood as they enter their thirties. The creative team includes Peter McKintosh (production design), Guy Hoare (lighting design), and Adam Cork (original music and sound design).
The reviews are in and while critics seem divided over the play itself, the performers and director Curtis are receiving much praise.
Among the reviews are:
"Lanford Wilson's rarely performed dissection of the American middle-class and marriage through two upwardly mobile couples still feels as fresh as when it first sparked into sulphureous life in the early seventies"
"...the flame-haired Somerville is outstanding as the energetic powerhouse who rules her roost with decided authority."
Serenading Louie, Donmar Warehouse, London
"Simon Curtis's sensitive production has excellent performances from Jason Butler Harner (Alex), the only American, as well as from Jason O'Mara (Carl) and Geraldine Somerville (Mary), the last of whom catches perfectly the lofty but dangerous obliviousness of the rich."
"But this is navel-gazing stuff saved only by a pertinent use of music and some truly heroic acting. The cast hurl the dialogue at each other as if it is a hand grenade, but the failure of the words to explode even during the final melodramatic moments is symptomatic of this play's ashen emptiness."
Serenading Louie at the Donmar
"...the acting is consistently so strong you overlook the play's faults, which would also include a failure adequately to establish the political and social context and an ending that even O'Mara can't save from seeming melodramatic."
"The acting is stylish and magnificent from a cast you're not quite sure who they are: visiting American actor Jason Butler Harner is superb, both haunted and driven, as the shooting star political lawyer Alex whose wife Gabrielle, played with unrecognizable, vulnerable hesitancy by Charlotte Emmerson, is talking to the roast and teetering on the brink."
"It's all brilliantly done. The Donmar has surely revealed a modern American classic, and one that is as much a surprise as it is a pleasure to discover."