Charles Wright

Charles Wright is a critic with CurtainUp. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (139)
The Inheritance
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"This award-winning production of a new American play arrives from London ’s West End with a top-notch..." Full Review

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"This new musicalization of Rostand's heroic comedy-drama strikes a melancholy tone throughout, with downbeat songs by veterans of the indie rock band The National. What's noteworthy about the production is Peter Dinklage's memorable, heartbreaking performance in the title role." Full Review

CurtainUp

"A rowdy reminder of the glories of 1970s rock. Best known for the Bonnie Tyler hit 'Total Eclipse of the Heart,' Steinman is adept at weaving memorable melodies (sometimes alluring, sometimes insidious) into the clatter and cacophony of hard or semi-hard rock...this is a rock concert for rock lovers repelled by rock concerts." Full Review

A Strange Loop
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Michael R. Jackson's semi-autobiographical musical transforms oversharing into high art…features plenty of momentum, fresh melodies, and artful lyrics that explore essential elements of the human condition - angst, despair, ambition, desire, and hope." Full Review

Happy Talk
Midtown W
CurtainUp

“Eisenberg has a knack for compelling dialogue — it's believable (often more believable than the characters who speak it), funny at times...But, where characterization of his protagonists is concerned, Eisenberg tends to disclose all his cards very early, leaving little for the audience to discover...Elliott wrings maximal horror from what the playwright has written...The production's cast is admirable, but three of the members are severely underutilized." Full Review

CurtainUp

“Under the resourceful direction of Timbers, the principals form a sublime ensemble...They create maximal mayhem...There are moments when relentless exuberance becomes monotonous and it's hard not to ponder all that doesn't add up in the story. Those moments are relatively few and when they occur, the eclectic musical score, the visual humor, and the cast's hijinks soon reassert themselves, distracting us once again from our disbelief." Full Review

CurtainUp

"An account, both touching and upbeat, of that universal downer — adolescence...Tracz and Iconis have modified Vizzini's plot judiciously, simplifying it for dramatic purposes...The musical captures the sadness and agitation of Vizzini's characters; and Iconis makes the characters sing in ways reminiscent of Broadway's golden age yet appropriate to the source material...Director Stephen Brackett kept his 10 actors moving with the precision and velocity of a computer program." Full Review

State of the Union
East Village
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"Consistent with other Broadway comedies of its era, 'State of the Union' has an enormous amount of exposition before things really get going. The exposition’s interesting enough, the initial action is engaging, and the dialogue is sprightly throughout...What a boon that the Metropolitan Playhouse has figured out how to stage this almost-forgotten comedy on a shoestring." Full Review

The Mortality Machine
Lower E Side
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"Part of the mystery for the playgoer is who else has bought a ticket and who’s being paid to act...The creative team has dreamed up vivid characters..Schumacher aimed to cross the boundary between life and death, so it’s not a spoiler to mention that the authors invite the audience to take an imaginative step across that line in order to rendezvous with the missing characters. That’s when 'The Morality Machine' becomes fanciful and really interesting..” Full Review

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“Mallon’s script is efficiently constructed and poignant, but there’s little verisimilitude here. The dramatic situation is contrived; the characters are fabricated rather than observed; and the dialogue rises only intermittently above the glossy superficiality of 1980s television comedy...What saves the day is Masur’s virtuosity, which redeems a predictable comedy-drama and makes the joyous final scene soar like one of Bernard’s beloved songbirds.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“The script is a series of smooth set pieces that must be catnip to an ambitious actor but leave a reflective playgoer unsatisfied...The 2018 ‘Thom Pain’ is no more satisfying; but the magnified scale suits the grandiosity of Eno's exercise in synthetic Beckettry...Hall grabs the audience's attention; and he holds it firmly through even the most lackluster moments of Eno's script...Despite the benefit of Hall's fine performance, Eno's play is likely to be as polarizing in 2018 as it was in 20... Full Review

CurtainUp

“A zippy, literate romp. With their funny, if preposterous, plot and witty dialogue, the playwrights pursue various questions raised by the combative relationship...Moves at a high velocity that obscures what's incredible in the plot and what's deficient in the characters' arguments...Most of all, this is an opportunity to see three of the best actors of our day kicking up their heels in an old fashioned boulevard comedy that's the timeliest, if not the most profound, show in town" Full Review

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"The score includes clever references, melodic and chromatic, to such past masters as Guthrie, Dylan, Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash and, especially, Young, without undercutting the originality of Butler’s musical sound...Butler is a formidable presence, who connects immediately with the audience and doesn’t so much sing as act his solos with the emotional intricacy of a seasoned musical-theater performer...A captivating, toe-tapping fiction." Full Review

The Emperor
Brooklyn
CurtainUp

“An athletically staged two-hander...Hunter is a compelling, yet almost Lilliputian, presence. Shifting from one role to another...relying primarily on alterations in posture, inflection, and affect. Some of her characterizations are more distinctive than others; yet she manages to maneuver her lithe frame and manipulate her gravelly voice in strikingly different ways...Teevan's adaptation is a theatrical reflection on present day dictatorial regimes." Full Review

Days to Come
Midtown W
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“Sullivan has directed a superb ensemble of actors who do all they can for Hellman’s play. But the uneven quality of the script gives some cast members an appreciable advantage over others...Too many subplots and insufficient narrative focus...But the Mint revival demonstrates that, even in this minor work, Hellman exercised a gift for compelling dialogue and a prophetic vision of how uncivilized Western civilization can be.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“Pendleton has wisely recruited Nichols to play the insufferable protagonist...Her performance as Margery is downright mesmeric. Wulp's script, though admirably literate, is overlong and overwritten; but the scenes in Act Two when Margery travels to Jerusalem are worth the price of admission...This comedy may be overlong, but it's dollars to doughnuts that Wulp's script and Pendleton's production afford a far more invigorating experience than any of those academic papers at the Kempe symposiu... Full Review

CurtainUp

"Director Ali steers this production along a narrow path that runs between the realistic and the fanciful, ensuring that the five fine actors do justice both to what's straightforward and to what's exotic in Love's often poetic, sometimes banal, script...Berry, always convincing as the wisest soul on the plantation, would be reason enough to see 'Sugar in Our Wounds'...Thanks to Berry's Aunt Mama, audiences will recall this tale of bigotry and thwarted love for its humor as well as tragedy." Full Review

The Fourth Wall
Midtown W
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“In the right hands, ‘The Fourth Wall’ may muster more trenchant moments than this production; but here Gurney’s experimentation doesn’t pay off. Part of the problem lies with the writer, whose slender conceit is only mildly amusing and hasn’t been fully integrated with his political message...The well-meaning actors lack the light touch called for by the arch dialogue. Instead of bubbling like Prosecco, the production is sodden as milk toast.” Full Review

The Gentleman Caller
West Village
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“Combines kernels of fact with lots of fancy...Beginning as a rowdy pastiche of sex comedies...The play turns darker in a handful of well-written monologues that are highly engaging but don’t add up to a convincing portrait of either character...A memory play that riffs on themes from the two playwrights' works and lives...The actors’ energetic performances and Speciale’s fast-paced direction compensate for—or, at least, divert attention from—the script’s shortcomings.” Full Review

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“The current revival discards the realistic trappings of mid-20th-century American theater and features a nearly ideal cast...Ireland and Darrow display remarkable chemistry. They’re supported by an ensemble of 10 who furnish Southern Gothic flavor without capitulating to stereotypes...Everything about this handsome revival conspires to rescue Williams’ text from the dominion of 20th-century naturalism.” Full Review

Feeding the Dragon
West Village
CurtainUp

"Washington grabs our attention immediately...While much of it is charming and a good deal is touching, the piece overall is diffuse, at 90 minutes, slightly overlong...The affectionate dignity of Washington's performance safeguards the text from turning cute or precious. And she's adept at channeling characters...What makes this presentation noteworthy is the verisimilitude of the playwright's measured but theatrical interpretation of her own writing." Full Review

Babette’s Feast
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Nearly as simple and spare as the lives of the fanatical sectarians in Dinesen's story...The playwrights have elected to steer clear of realism and any semblance of the visual extravagance associated with Axel's film...While 'Babette's Feast' has a number of highly dramatic moments, the playwrights' reverence for Dinesen's words has led them merely to tell much of the story, using descriptive passages from the original, rather than really staging it." Full Review

Later Life
Midtown W
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"Bittersweet and very funny, 'Later Life' is a theatrical pearl...The greatest assets of this revival are Markell and Liam Craig as a succession of wacky party guests. These two have the comic timing of old pros; and, with quicksilver changes of togs, wigs, and dialect, they blunder on and off the terrace, interrupting the earnest, sometimes eloquent conversation of the might-yet-be lovers...In Gurney’s world, hope, joy, and hilarity always complement the pain." Full Review

CurtainUp

"As poetic, mysterious, and intricately structured as one might expect from Kennedy's past work...Made up of narrative fragments...The bits and pieces, which seem unrelated at first, blend into narrative that inspires awe and pity...Yionoulis imbues the playwright's harrowing material with tenderness while keeping the action on the move throughout. Despite the rambling, reflective nature of Kennedy's monologues, Yionoulis's production is a swift, emotionally intense 50 minutes." Full Review

Hindle Wakes
Midtown W
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“Mint Theater Company is demonstrating that this little-known play with its perplexing title is a compelling period piece. Directed by Kaikkonen and performed with unrelenting gusto...A comedy-drama about sexual mores, class distinctions, and gender politics in provincial England just prior to World War I...The cast is a compelling, well-calibrated ensemble...The Mint has given Houghton’s neglected play a handsome physical production.” Full Review

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"This new musicalization of Rostand's heroic comedy-drama strikes a melancholy tone throughout, with downbeat songs by veterans of the indie rock band The National. What's noteworthy about the production is Peter Dinklage's memorable, heartbreaking performance in the title role." Full Review

Make Believe
Midtown W
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"Bess Wohl's new comedy portrays a quartet of Gen X siblings at two points of life-changing family crisis. The dialogue sparkles with wit that's hip and distinctively off-beat; the subtext is frequently disturbing and sad (and always believable)." Full Review

CurtainUp

"A brightly wrapped, intricately decorated package with little inside. It's racy, sometimes vulgar, and always indifferent to historical context and narrative logic. This makes it just the right stuff for the Trump era..." Full Review

CurtainUp

"This fleetly moving production is directed by Aidan Redmond and features nine topflight actors...'The Mountains Look Different' is a striking museum piece, a glimpse of middling Irish drama from the middle of the last century. As performed by the Mint's splendid cast, the play is engaging but never compelling because the script, though artful, is as unconvincing as those beautifully painted, old-fashioned stage flats." Full Review

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"Kiechel’s meandering script includes monologues and dramatic vignettes that incorporate fragments of Swan’s writing, music, dance, and stylized movement. In the course of 80 minutes, four good actors portray a variety of figures...No matter how painful to view, it’s impossible to look away from the accelerating emotion of Torn’s intriguing performance and the fragments of the past dancing in the mind’s eye of the old artist." Full Review

Smart Blonde
Midtown E
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"At numerous points, 'Smart Blonde' tugs at the heartstrings...Directed at a breakneck clip by Peter Flynn, this production features four superb actors...Smart Blonde is at its best when the cast is singing (and especially when they’re mimicking The Revuers). What’s disappointing is that, in this tour of Holliday’s biography (at once lightning-fast and bland), Holtzman affords the talented actors ample room for caricature but gives them scant opportunity for characterization." Full Review

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“A 1913 comedy-drama that features a top-notch ensemble of NY actors in a handsomely designed staging....The fact that Baker’s protagonist never questions the merits of his convictions — or prejudices — makes ‘The Price of Thomas Scott’ a vexing 90 minutes of theater...It’s more curiosity than treasure, but this long mislaid work is evidence of Baker’s knack for dialogue that’s vivid and arresting, even in the stodgier sequences of her narrative." Full Review

Switzerland
Midtown E
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“Murray-Smith’s forte is stylish dialogue, and she manages the machinery of melodrama expertly, at least for the first two acts. At the outset of Act III, though, the playwright attempts a coup de théâtre by transforming her urbane thriller into an existentialist fantasia. This clumsy switch...yields nothing but confusion...It’s wonderfully cast...Skillfully directed...Though acting technique can’t clarify what’s obscure in the script...’Switzerland’ amounts to two-thirds of a quite good play." Full Review

Bleach
Brooklyn
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“Ireland-Reeves’s compelling play...’Bleach’ is a potboiler...Yates makes quite a meal of Ireland-Reeves’s monodrama. But there’s far more to Bleach than sensationalism...Tyler is a vivid, intricately developed character...Despite its subject matter, ‘Bleach’ is never prurient. On the contrary, it’s a compelling reflection on the long-term effect of compromised principles, and a depiction of what happens when one submits to ‘anything and everything’ for material gain.” Full Review

The Tricky Part
Midtown W
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"Seth Barrish, who directed the original, does the same for this production, showing the delicacy of a conductor interpreting a complex symphony transcribed for a single instrument. In the course of 90 minutes, Moran’s performance varies widely in tempi and dynamics, yet the momentum never lags...Moran's beautifully written script steers clear of self-pity, pop psychology, and agitprop, and dramatizes with exquisite simplicity a complex individual’s response to adversity." Full Review

Eve's Song
East Village
CurtainUp

“’A state-of-the-nation play that serves as commentary on how perilous it is to be black...The sequences with the Spirit Women are more visually striking than anything else...Yet the playwright, director...haven't figured out how to integrate these unsettling scenes into the larger saga...A minor complaint about a play that depicts so vividly and with such humor the toxic effects of racism, the tenderness of family affection, and the aching metamorphosis from youth to maturity." Full Review

Fireflies
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"’Fireflies’ depicts with great verisimilitude the angst and pain incurred by leaders in the civil rights movement for their commitment to social progress...Under Ali's sensitive direction, Wise and Davis are compelling as characters who are conflicted, flawed and believable. Wise, superb throughout, makes Olivia's final monologue — a tour de force of dramatic writing — a theatrical moment likely to stay with audiences indefinitely. Davis is equally forceful here." Full Review

You And I
East Village
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“A vibrant script, insightful where human nature is concerned, witty and, in the end, heartrending...Hardart’s accomplished staging features a balanced ensemble cast of endearing players, with three leads who lend just the right buoyancy to Barry’s witty dialogue. But what’s best is how they capture the poignancy of the playwright’s subtext, as well as of his text...If only such graceful, stylish talk could be heard more often nowadays—onstage and off!” Full Review

The Naturalists
Soho/Tribeca
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"Act I of McCarrick’s play consists of arresting, occasionally cryptic, conversation that combines astute characterization and languorous exposition. The playwright’s accomplished dialogue affords glimpses of the three principals’ unconscious motivations and their degrees of emotional damage...This fledgling troupe...is giving McCarrick’s drama a superb world premiere. The cast—a near-perfect ensemble in the first act—works together like the strings and bow of a virtuoso’s violin." Full Review

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“Brown-Fried has skillfully streamlined the text of Shakespeare’s monumental trilogy...The perspicaciously abridged script keeps this ‘Henry VI’ moving at a gallop...The most striking physical aspect of this production is its battlefield choreography...The 16 actors embody a massive number of roles, with doubling that's always effective and intriguing. All performers aren't equal in technique, but none are markedly weak. And the principals are everything one might hope.” Full Review

Conflict
Midtown W
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“Thoroughly engaging...With fast-paced direction by Thompson and brightly polished performances...A competently crafted boulevard comedy...Thompson and the...excellent actors lend a roller-coaster intensity to the narrative ups and downs. The script lacks the heft and originality of 'Hindle Wakes'...but, amid the complications of its conventional romantic plot, Malleson conveys much that’s enlightening about British politics, social mores, and class friction." Full Review

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"A zany mash-up of literary pastiche, pop cultural references, and slapstick, in which Scelsa purloins the four characters of Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’...and unleashes her ferocious narrative imagination…Scelsa’s parodic trip to the underworld may have honest feminist, literary-critical objectives; but ‘Everyone’s Fine,’ funny as it is, does little more than ridicule a few highly mannered leading female characters, fabricated by two gay male literary geniuses.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“It's hard to imagine a more cunningly erotic start...Eye-pleasing spectacle...Dodin's direction dispenses with subtlety...The intricate political machinations of Schiller's plot are intact, but this production's sensuality throbs louder than the creaking of the play's dramatic gears...This is a production in which passion of one kind or another is always in evidence...The members of the Maly troupe operate at an emotional pitch that may vary to some extent but is always fevered.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"Do we need another 'Long Day's Journey' just two years after Jonathan Kent's acclaimed Broadway revival with Jessica Lange and Gabriel Byrne? The answer is yes and the principal reason is Manville's complex, insightful interpretation of Mary...Hers is the least stagy, most convincing performance one is likely to see, with no concessions to vanity or interpretive innovation...The three men surrounding Manville tackle their roles from disparate and somewhat incompatible angles." Full Review

CurtainUp

"With Washington at its center, this production qualifies as a star revival. But the star is supported by 18 unusually able actors; and the proceedings are directed by George C. Wolfe with compassionate attention to details of characterization. It's a high velocity 'Iceman'...Washington's Hickey doesn't fit snugly in the otherwise balanced ensemble...Washington's performance is nonetheless engrossing and believable on its own, separate terms." Full Review

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"This is a drama in which the principal characters are largely inactive and very little happens...Under Mr. Triana’s direction, the fine cast manages to animate Gárcia Márquez’s absurdist tale with a sense of psychological momentum and narrative urgency. Jaramillo is believably bewildered as the unworldly colonel...As the wife, encumbered by illness, age, and the frustration of her husband’s inaction, Clares is at once strident and sympathetic." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Ashford and Grandage have transformed a 41-member cast into a smoothly coordinated theatrical organism...'Frozen' is an eye-popping illustration of what contemporary stage technology can achieve...But the physical production never overshadows the performances of an impressive company...This visually rich, wonderfully paced, aurally thrilling production keeps us wide-eyed and on tenterhooks for more than two hours, even when we know how things are going to end." Full Review

An Ordinary Muslim
East Village
CurtainUp

"Chaudry is a dab hand at dialogue; and his narrative ambitions are prodigious....Director Bonney is in admirable control of this production. Her supervision of Chaudry's sometimes diffuse dramaturgy rescues the play's sundry themes and conflicting narrative directions from devolving into dramatic chaos...A good, if gangly, play. Bonney's direction of a fine cast and the beautifully integrated design make this an extraordinary production." Full Review

Balls
Midtown E
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"'Balls' asks how society has changed since the unsavory display at the Astrodome and whether the changes are for better or worse. Some answers may be evident, but the actors don’t ram them home. Mindful of recent disclosures regarding outrages to civil liberty, including sexual misconduct and coverup, playgoers may find 'Balls' disheartening, but their spirits will be buoyed by the energy and resourcefulness of this highly theatrical escapade." Full Review

The Undertaking
Midtown E
CurtainUp

"A mere 80 minutes in duration, with well-paced dialogue between the principal characters and arresting interpolations from the playwright's field research. But the enterprise goes off the rails in its final third. he playwright's attempt to explore the nature of death is defeated by the fact that, as Marvell says, the grave's a fine and private place, inaccessible to the living...The final segment of the play begins as a charming conceit but quickly runs out of steam.” Full Review