Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

Oscar E Moore header image 2

THE COTTAGE – at long last Broadway

July 28th, 2023 by Oscar E Moore

An overwrought, disappointing production.  Hardly worth all the effort that the participants are so forcefully putting forth to be quaint, amusing, sexy and unbelievably outrageous.  Unfortunately to no avail.

No consistent style.  Accents all over the place.  The place being England, 1923 where the deer and the squirrels are pictured fornicating on the bucolic countryside show curtain (look carefully) as well as the hodge-podge of inhabitants of said cottage.

16 weeks only.  Better be quick.  Catch the shenanigans of this trio of couples.  Married and or sleeping with each other in various combinations.  Too bad none of them appear to be remotely interested in one another.  Not particularly witty or mildly funny.  Just not my cup of tea.

Back in the heyday of primo 60’s summer stock (regional theater) in places like Allentown, Pennsylvania – Kennebunkport, Maine and Canal Fulton, Ohio – for one week only – television personalities and semi-retired Hollywood stars would venture forth for a relatively inexpensive price of a ticket to see a revival of a Noel Coward comedy or a recent Broadway musical or an old British farce.  Farce being the operative word here as THE COTTAGE is billed as such; put together by Sandy Rustin who has also written an adaptation of CLUE – one of the most-produced plays in the U.S. according to published sources.

Summer Stock.  A play a week.  With a resident company surrounded by real Stars!  Where one could learn their craft.  Speaking to be understood.  Projecting.  No microphones thank you very much.  Learning to be believable.  A lost art.

And so we have THE COTTAGE at the Hayes Theater.  Helen Hayes might very well be embarrassed.  And rightfully so.  Various productions of this farce have been bopping around for years and THE COTTAGE has finally opened on Broadway, of all places!  The skills Helen Hayes mastered go unseen by the current company of thespians.

Since 1917 Sylvia aka Tulip (Laura Bell Bundy) and Beau (Eric McCormack) have had an annual tryst at Beau’s widowed mother’s cottage (elaborate set by Paul Tate dePoo III) where she has decided to tell all to her husband Clarke (Alex Moffat, Beau’s brother) and Beau’s wife – the very pregnant Marjorie (Lilli Cooper) who have been getting in on together.  One other odd couple Dierdre (Dana Steingold – Beau’s other lover) and her jealous husband Richard (Nehal Joshi) is thrown into the mix for good or bad measure as the case may be.  Complications ensue.

Audiences today, it appears, are not so demanding.  Especially during a heat wave.  Air cooling does wonders.  As do silly sight gags.

Oddly placed secret hiding places for the too many cigarettes inhaled, too loud music cues and knocking at the door as each character makes an entrance, and the all too loud delivery of dialogue at a level to make words incomprehensible.  Not to mention the elongated “fart” sequence in Act II.  Unbelievable.

Speaking of which in a farce or any play for that matter actors must be believable.  We must care for them to be involved.  Even in unbelievable circumstances so that we believe in what they are called upon to do.  Unfortunately in THE COTTAGE directed by Jason Alexander this is lacking.

I did have one laugh out loud moment.  The final line of the play is delivered by Oscar (Tony Roach) the hitherto unseen gardener (and understudy for all three lead male roles) and Tulips’ reaction to that line is priceless.  So stick around for it.

Hayes Theater 240 West 44 ST.  Through Oct 29th  www.TheCottageOnBroadway.com

Photos:  Joan Marcus

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.