In this somber, strangely poetic, esoteric and dull as dishwater play by David Rudkin and directed by Jack McNamara (as if he were wearing blinders) THE LOVESONG OF ALFRED J. HITCHCOCK – a riff on the T.S. Eliot poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock – is two hours of prolonged torture reminding one of Marat/Sade.
It aspires to make some sort of tragic Shakespearian hero out of the iconic film director of such classics as Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo and Strangers on a Train. Better to rent one of these films than to catch this opus which is part of the Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters.
This limited engagement, through May 25th – would be fodder for those interested in what was going through the mind of the master if only it were more interesting with at least a modicum of entertainment. Does mental abuse make a genius?
Mr. Hitchcock (an unconvincing Martin Miller) was also funny. Scary yes, but with a droll, dry sense of humor that is absent in this production with the exception of three, no make that two jokes in Act II as he struggles to come up with the motivations of his actors and the plot of a film he is working on with an American writer (Tom McHugh). Here he is a prime candidate for the funny farm.
An excellent Roberta Kerr gets to chew the scenery (what little there is of it) playing his dragon of a mother Emma who instilled “fear” in her little boy and his wife Alma (his severest critic – that is, until now) who is attempting to write a book that might be titled “My Life with a Serial Killer”.
Poor Hitch was obsessed with his weight – having been jeered at by others but continued his love of food – as well as his muddled relationship with women. Racked with guilt we discover his obsession with religion and we even get to witness his “confession” – which only makes us want to flee the theatre all the faster.
Anthony Wise portrays a Jesuit Teacher, Priest and Stranger on a train.
The short, staccato words and phrases do little to help and their repetition tends to make one fall asleep. I kept anticipating someone yelling “CUT!” which would bring to a close this ill- conceived character study that began its life as a 1993 radio play…
Photo: Carol Rosegg
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