The Gaesling family has seen better days – although you wouldn’t know it as they are having a champagne breakfast in their sumptuous lodge outside of Syracuse New York (another masterful design by John Lee Beatty) toasting the opening of hunting season as the World is at War in 1917 – and we have seen better plays produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club and Manhattan Class Company.
In this joint effort which is a mediocre knockoff of scenes from Chekhov written by Sharr White with wonderful in flight projections by Rocco DiSanti and helmed by Daniel Sullivan we meet The Gaesling family – a family at odds with one another and trying to make the best of it under the dire circumstances that slowly unfold. It might take a while to connect all the dots and once you do you will be in Act II of this melancholy period drama.
Starring Mary-Louise Parker, as the beautiful but fragile, delusional and not so merry widow Elizabeth Gaesling who doesn’t look old enough to have these two grown sons – the favorite, self absorbed, charming and rakish Princeton attendee Duncan (an excellent Evan Jonigkeit) on his way to save the day overseas and his younger less favored practical brother Arnold (Brian Cross) making an impressive Broadway debut, Duncan discovers to his horror that they are broke and can only afford one new servant – a beautiful refugee from the Ukraine Viktorya Gryaznoy (Jessica Love) who fortunately understands and speaks fluent English – having been raised in wealthy surroundings before losing it all too.
Welcome to Broadway Mr. Brian Cross. Someone saw your potential and you have run with it, giving a very nuanced, controlled, charming and emotional performance as Arnold that brightens up this somewhat dreary play.
And that same someone either forgot to tell Ms. Parker that she is not on television but in the theatre where projection and not a close up is most important or she has decided that Elizabeth is in such a state of mourning with her gorgeous widow’s weeds designed by Jane Greenwood that she is sometimes unintelligible.
Also on hand is Elizabeth’s devout sister Clarissa (Victoria Clark) who is married to Max Hohmann (Danny Burstein) a German/American Doctor with a wry sense of humor who is now on the outs and losing his patients due to the German backlash from the war. Both actors are sublime.
The man of the hour, the rakish Theodore Gaesling (Christopher Innvar) who has caused his family to loose everything and who is the love of Elizabeth’s life makes a brief and notable appearance. As do flocks of flying snow geese.
Limited run at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
www.thesnowgeesebroadway.com Photos: Joan Marcus
Tags: No Comments