‘La Bete’ on Broadway, a Review

la bete on broadway

Voters for the Tony Awards have a major problem on their hands. Can they give Mark Rylance the Best Actor award again, a mere three years after Boeing, Boeing? Certainly they will be unable to avoid nominating him for his astounding comic performance in David Hirson’s masterful La Bête.

La Bête (The Beast or The Fool), first produced on Broadway in 1991 to little acclaim although it went on to win an Olivier Award in London, is something of a tour de force.

Written in rhyming couplets in the manner of Moliere, set in Moliere’s France, and dealing with the sort of cultural hypocrisies that were Moliere’s bread and butter, Hirson’s play seems uncannily of the moment nearly twenty years on, with much to tell us about the current debased state of our entertainment culture. (Are you reading this Snooki?) Perhaps that is the definition of great dramatic art.
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“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” On Broadway, A Review

This production has closed.

Over the years, I have bemoaned the fate of a number of cheerfully low-brow Broadway musicals that got slammed by New York critics and closed before they could find their audience. So now that “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is a bona fide hit, why am I so unenthused?

Based on the hit movie of the same name, “Scoundrels” tells the tale of Lawrence Jameson, a suave, vaguely English con man (John Lithgow) who, with the aid of a corrupt chief of police (Gregory Jbara), has had an illustrious career bilking rich women like Muriel Eubanks (Joanna Gleason) out of their money on the French Riviera. His idyllic life is thrown into disarray with the appearance of Freddy Benson (Norbert Leo Butz), a distinctly down-market but nonetheless successful American version of Lawrence. When Freddy begs to learn from the master, apprenticeship turns to rivalry and a heartless bet to con the seemingly guileless American Soap Queen, Miss Colgate (Sherie Rene Scott) out of fifty grand.

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