A Behanding in Spokane Reviews
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Jamie samul from Glen Ridge, NJ
ONE MANS' HAND IS ANOTHERS' BROADWAY HIT
What is it about Christopher Walken that holds you in a a state of uncertainty and danger one minute, then with a subtle jesture and something else to say, allows you to laugh out loud? It's the dream team of a Martin McDonagh, whose genius playwriting funnels sharp, edgy, "lol" dialog with a new age macabre along with the unassuming, yet powerful presence of a superb actor, Walken. McDonagh hit it out of the park with his cast of four, Walken, Anthony Mackie, Sam Rockwell & Zoe Kazan in, "A Behanding in Spokane". I procliam it to be Broadways' new, dark comedy, smash hit! Parents keep your kiddies home for this one but if Mom has, or appreciates a twisted/wicked sense of humor she'll be sure to laugh out loud with you!
Patricia Moore from Cincinnati, OH
UR INE FOR A GOOD CAUSE
If you're going to whine about potty breaks or potty mouths, go see Lion King. If, instead, you want Mr. Walken in his finest hour, you should take my seat at the Schoefeld, or perhaps the seat next to Ms Judith Light (front row, center, looking fabulous). She, as well as, Ms Johansson (whom had graciously allowed a personal photo of her beauty on the Ellis Island Ferry earlier that day), and 99.9% of the rest of the audience (including me, a native Chicagoan, who jokes about stalkin' Walken and dreams of dancing with the King of New York) were laughing our asses off with such quick containment in order not to miss the next moment of brilliant writing, impeccable timing and unparalleled acting that we could not have cared less had urine flowed to a collective pool. I've held urine for much longer periods of time, for much less nobler causes. And, audience exit was at an incline, now wasn't it?
Tony Heslop from Manchester, England
A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE
I queued up for "Rush Tickets" for that days performance after being told by my New York cousin to get some tickets for this play although he didn`t know what it was about but had heard some good things. To my surprise I discovered that Mr Walken was in it. We got the tickets which were just over $25 with a "restricted view" The said view was from a private box! The play itself was superb!I laughed from beginning to end and Mr Walken did not disappoint. He was Spellbinding. I have not stopped talking about the experience since my return to the UK. It was something that I won`t forget and topped off my trip to the States. My wife, cousin and his wife all felt the same. I would not recommend it for young children due to the amount of swearing.
S tol from Leiden, the Netherlands
A GREAT NIGHT OUT
Knowing beforehand that I had one free night in New York while on tour with my orchestra,(the Rotterdam Philharmonic)I particularly chose this play because of M McDonagh and Christopher Walken's names.Maybe because I do not live in the US, I had a very different experience than the other reviewers I have read here. Firstly, it never crossed my mind that a 1.5 hour sit would put any strain on my bladder(but then, we Europeans don't walk around with water bottles grafted onto our palms). Secondly,the racist banter uttered in the context of this quasi'theater of the absurd' piece refreshingly took the mickey out of the revolting political correctness clouding people's thoughts.Frankly,I laughed a lot and was amazed by Walken's and Anthony Mackie's timing and engaging performances.Also the set is wondrous!One criticism,Zoe Kazan screams a bit too often with too little variation.I wish my son could have seen this play.What a lesson in the creation of dialogue and its delivery.Many thanks.
Dee Edwards from UK
FUNNY PLAY, RUDE USHERS
I had read that the ushers in this theatre were rude and lacking in charm, and this is very true. The usher seemed to be interested in bullying patrons to their seats. We were looking for our seats, when an usher came up behind us and said "can you move along and not stand there?" When we asked if our mezzanine seats were up a set of stairs, she said " yes, of course, didn't you hear me yelling that's where they were?". I replied that I do not respond to someone yelling at me. This theatre really needs to look at its customer service, as it creates a very bad impression. The play iteself is rude, funny, improbable, farcical, but a food night out if you can take profanity.
Jackie Love\'s NYC from TX
Hysterical premise with a perfect execution by the cast. Yes people cuss and yes sometimes to extremes but at some level you have to wonder why such a an excellent writer clouded his dialogue with more MFs than you would ever hear on any ‘mean street’ in NYC or anywhere else.
Claire Baiz from Great Falls MT
A BE-WALLETING IN MANHATTAN
“If you have to go to the restroom, you may not be re-seated.” The stern middle aged lady walked down the aisle whispering pointedly to theatergoers five minutes before curtain went up at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater’s opening night preview of “A Behanding in Spokane”. I’ve only been to six, maybe seven Broadway shows in my life, but I’d never had someone threaten the obvious to my bladder before. Was it an omen? A threat? Christopher Walken’s sense of humor? Walken is always smilingly sinister: the guy’s had me jumpy for years. I’m not talking just Pulp Fiction, either; I’m referring to his role as the Commie-phobic dad in Blast from the Past. As the lead character Carmichael in ”Behanding”, Walken rests on the caricature of old roles, washed up and still dripping. Sam Rockwell co-stars as Mervyn the night receptionist at a dumpy hotel. Rockwell doesn’t stray too far from familiar ground either. He’s the insecure misfit, the sort of neglected kid who lashes out because he has so little to live for. My guess is that playwright Martin McDonagh had drinks with Walken, and wrote a play to Walken’s fallback persona, tossing in some Ron Popeil playwriting for good measure…“But wait…there’s more.” These interjections of racism and profanity were meant to add layers, but instead made the audience uncomfortable. Back where I sat, it was the kind of laughter that conceals vague embarrassment. The symbolism, on the other hand,was sophomoric, and the ending was a disappointing cliche. It was smart not to have an intermission. Along with the bladder threat, they might have lead to a steady stream from the Schoenfeld. Between the first and second acts, Rockwell’s character Mervyn gives his captive audience a connection by referring to perverse fantasies about the Columbine High school killers. Nigger and cunt jokes aside, not many showed laughter or gasping at this gaffe. A high point in the plot for me was when a young girl of color in the middle of my row in the theater rebelled with an unforgivable need to use the bathroom. We dutifully did the Broadway, one-row version of “the wave” to let the poor thing express with her bladder what McDonagh was doing with his script, but at least she didn’t do it down one leg and make everyone watch. Walken was his smarmy self without apology…or energy. Rockwell was annoyingly apt as Mervyn. The two supporting actors, Anthony Mackie (Toby) –who did a great job in The Hurt Locker--and Zoe Kazan (Marilyn) were more entertaining than the headliners, but their roles didn’t catch me…they had me wanting to bite, but the words were too overwritten to swallow. There are two saving graces of this 16-week run: first the set, which, in contrast to many minimalist Broadway productions, was a perfect dingy hotel room, framed with an even dingier ripped house curtain. The second saving grace is hope. When I see a good playwright “mail one in” it gives me hope that something I write may someday get a nod from an editor or a producer. You would think that with a name like Erich Jungwirth the associate producer of “A Behanding in Spokane” would have understood the offensive symbology of the script and reconsidered his backing, or perhaps the other producer Richard Jordan, might have realized he’d have to cross the River Jordan to finance another production after being personally be-walleted…on Broadway.
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