Search This Blog

Monday 17 June 2019

The Starry Messenger, Play, written by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by Sam Yates, Wyndham’s Theatre London, 8* out of 10

Kenneth Lonergan’s Starry Messenger is not his greatest play but a solidly good one which I thoroughly enjoyed. Rosalind Eleazar shines as Angela, the star actors Elizabeth McGovern and Matthew Broderick give good performances. A very enjoyable evening at the theatre.

Kenneth Lonergan is a gifted author of plays for the theatre and the screen. Who could not have been moved by the heart-breaking “Manchester by the Sea”? In “The Starry Messenger”, Mark (Matthew Broderick) is a teacher of introductory courses on astronomy at a local observatory. He is passionate about astronomy and has his head in the Milky Way. His dream is to do actual project work in astronomy but it is apparently too late for that. On earth, Mark also takes everything he does very seriously and aims to please those around him. This can be somewhat trying and while he is outwardly calm and reasonable the varying demands some of his students, his mother in law as conveyed by his rather attractive wife Ann (Elizabeth Mc Govern), with legs reaching from earth up to planet Betelgeuse, and his teenage son which he tries to postpone indefinitely discussing or if forced to address, always to accommodate, sometimes lead to bottled up bouts of frustrated and barely suppressed anger. Into his life steps a new student, the attractive young Angela (Rosalind Eleazar), a single mother and trainee nurse, who at the local hospital has found a fatherly friend in the seriously ill Norman (Jim Norton). Tragedy, luck and potential happiness lie close together as their stories unfold. 

Kenneth Lonergan has written a pleasing drama with humorous and moving elements about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. This play will give hope to any man who is very nice, indecisive and easily led that his love life may become varied and fulfilled. But is there similar hope for the competent and decisive heterosexual middle-aged fellows in search of polyamory? I am afraid, we’ll have to wait for a future endeavour by Lonergan or another talented writer. Director Sam Yates and Production Designer Paul Hennessey have done a competent job. Matthew Broderick as Mark does what he needs to do in a role that demands mainly a single register of the henpecked frustrated yet always very nice guy. He is passive yet capable of making others want to help him. Elizabeth McGovern is very good as Mark’s attractive yet somewhat neglected wife Anne, Jim Norton very watchable as the wise elderly gentleman patient who flirts with his nurse and annoys his daughter. Rosalind Eleazar has the most interesting role and her performance is outstanding. Not a great play, but a well written and well played one to be watched and enjoyed.

No comments:

Post a Comment