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Theatre Review (Burbank): Blame it on Beckett by John Morogiello

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Poor Samuel Beckett, blamed for a rather flimsy, wordy play (Blame it on Beckett) written in anger (playwright says so) that is, sad to say, the dark side of the theatre where betrayals happen and dreams are shattered and cynicism rules.

The play is about the hapless life of a dramaturge who is responsible for guiding other people’s plays to fruition and for wading through the crap that passes for writing that arrives at his office by the truckload. In this case the dramaturge is a cynical ass who no longer takes his calling seriously. A young intern arrives and tries to bring him around, but she is a regular Eve Harrington. The producer at the theatre is just after some tail, and the celebrated playwright a lesbian on the prowl. In short, not a group of people you really want to spend time with.

However the cast and director, the skilled Andrew Barnacle, have extracted a lot of hilarity and even some heart from the play. Partly this is due to the casting of Louis Lotorto in the lead role. Lotorto is an affable fellow so it’s hard to dislike him too much.

My biggest gripe is with the playwright. John Morogiello is entitled to write whatever he wants and may feel he has written several scenes that resolve and “save“ the play by ending on a sentimental note. Unfortunately the playwright has used several tricks to get there. He plays several “cards” to try and make us care and to make the play seem contemporary. Among the cards are swearing, AIDS, and homosexuality, all meant to get us in the heart. It didn’t help that I had seen a truly great play, Red, the night before which is also about art but at a much deeper level.

Audiences and several critics I have talked to rather liked this piece so you should judge for yourself. Blame it on Beckett will play at the Colony Theatre until September 2.

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About Robert Machray

  • wilberfan

    Your line, “…not a group of people you really want to spend time with”, summed it up nicely for me.

    I found it all to be quite uninvolving and cared naught for any of them…

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