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David Finkle

About:  David Finkle writes regularly about the arts. His column, The Aisle Seat, appears in The Clyde Fitch Report. He also writes for Huffington Post and Theatermania.
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Reviews (152)
Preview screenhunter 2587 jan. 09 20.02
55
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Overall, Jacobs-Jenkins’ update is fair to middling. The author has fun with his contemporary tweaking, but slowly, very slowly, the air is let out of the party balloon...He’s trading in the profound, even as he inserts a palpable laugh-line from time to time. But as 'Everybody' goes along on his obsessive journey, the playwright succeeds not at being profound but at being profoundly shallow. Indeed, it’s tough to be profound when a gimmick propels the production." Full Review

Preview sunsetboulevard 2
70
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Frequently Close’s unsure of her pitch...As this 'Sunset Boulevard' marches along, it’s clear that Close is on hand for the acting and for striding effectively about in the flowing robes and turbans...The whole script is credulity strained....What this 'Sunset Boulevard' does have in its favor is what it always had: the score. It’s enhanced immeasurably by one of the largest Broadway orchestras in years...The supporting players all possess musical and acting ability beyond the call of duty." Full Review

Preview img 0077
25
The Huffington Post

"Sobelle, ostensibly known for award-winning installations, continues spinning sentences that are notable for adding up to nothing much. In response, the audience occasionally laughs. Otherwise, the attendees are polite throughout...Early on, Sobelle dubs the undertaking a 'bulls**t enterprise.' Let’s give him that final word on one of the most impoverished theater pieces by which this reviewer has ever been assaulted." Full Review

Preview the liar white
85
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Ives’ infinite jokes land consistently because they’re so well played...The director takes obvious care that Ives’ crackling lines trip off the actors’ tongues so felicitously that audience members often cheer. Everything is lickety-split, all the more entertaining for being so...The stand-out performance is a revolving door—it’s whomever is speaking at the time...They’re all flawless...Still, special praise must go out to Elrod. A forever-reliable stage clown, he’s a stitch." Full Review

Preview rsz the tempest
90
The Huffington Post

"The formidable Harriet Walter, as directed by the equally formidable Phyllida Lloyd, is delivering the most astonishing reinterpretation of a famous William Shakespeare speech you might ever hope to witness…Walter is giving her devastating performance in the third of the all-women Bard trilogy…There is so much clever in the Lloyd approach that it’s hard to know where to start…Lloyd is full of additional surprises, too...Foremost are the delightful performances she plucks from the cast." Full Review

Preview gorey
75
The Huffington Post

"Throughout its 75 minutes at The Sheen Center, it is playful...For the most part, the Gorey stand-ins—starting and finishing each other’s sentences, as directed with ease and amusement by Russ—review his often hermit-like life...Not that much stage time is given over to the odd fellow’s inspirations, executions and grim, if not Grimm, themes...The absence of more discussion feels like a significant lapse." Full Review

Preview life is for living white
85
The Huffington Post

"Yes, an argument can be made that Coward’s drinks-party sophistication, for which his cigarette holder is a perpetual synecdoche, runs so deep here that it just about reaches the genuinely philosophical...'Life is for Living' may only be 70 minutes in length, but it’s appreciably more in breadth and depth. Destiny’s tot himself would be grateful for the cleverly presented perceptions." Full Review

Preview rsz dear evan hansen
80
The Clyde Fitch Report

"It’s a shame that a late and sizable script shortcoming lowers the rank of this tuner from surpassing musical treat to compromised excellence...The fair approach is to rave about 'Dear Evan Hansen‘s' outstanding elements, starting with Platt’s star-making performance. Surely, too, the place to start is with Levenson’s original book...Bolstered by Pasek and Paul’s energetic music...They all lack the courage of their dramatic convictions, and thus contrive for Evan an unearned redemption." Full Review

Preview terms of endearment white
60
The Huffington Post

"A by-the-numbers adaptation...Molly Ringwald as the mother Aurora Greenway to Hannah Dunne’s daughter Emma Greenway acquit themselves well under Michael Parva’s direction. Or well enough...Ringwald and Dunne rise to the tear-jerking occasion—as do Brown and Milord—but the thought remains that the production is somehow superfluous." Full Review

Preview my name is gideon white
60
The Huffington Post

"There’s no denying Irving has talent radiating from him. He’s so gifted that his eagerness to share those gifts keeps him from knowing when to stop: at the 60-minute mark would have been fine...He sings several songs he’s written...Throughout he indulges surprise activities that often rely on audience participation...But Gideon is a talented man, and I’m going to be tolerant of a show that began cheerfully and fresh but slowly transformed into the somewhat irritating." Full Review

Preview party23
85
The Huffington Post

"A rousing, raucous play-with-music...The entertainment, which begins the powerful, if from time to time polemical, work—and is choreographed to a foot-stomping, arm-raising fare-thee-well by Millicent Johnnie—is something to behold...Sly and leavening humor crops up occasionally...Considering what’s afoot nationally right this minute, 'Party People' has the potential to stir up as much of a societal kerfuffle as 'Hair.'" Full Review

Preview falsettos temp 285x375.jpeg  284x50000 q85 subsampling 2
85
The Huffington Post

"How does 'Falsettos' look nearly 25 years on? Just great—with only the merest reservations that certainly don't have anything to do with the several brilliant Finn songs...Today its impact has shifted. It's an unflinching look back. Nevertheless, as it plays, it retains emotional pangs...Last but hardly least in this wholly sincere recommendation are the cast members who understand the Finn and Lapine paean to humanity and bring it movingly to the stage." Full Review

Preview sellbuydate
90
The Clyde Fitch Report

"A brilliant discourse on commercial sex practices that puts everything into an intelligent, amusing, politically profound context...This is anything but dry. Jones’ lecturer is constantly funny. The jokes are like condiments: broadly spread...She’s a welcome beacon of wisdom at a time when idiocy is our chief political commodity. If you ask me, she could not have strolled in with her perspectives soon enough. Let’s crown her with laurels." Full Review

Preview she stoops webtile 1 194x300
40
The Huffington Post

"Yes, 'She Stoop to Conquer' deals in romantic silliness that Goldsmith gives the sort of oomph that requires inspired directing and playing to realize its full potential. That's exactly what fails to occur here. Though the actors strive mightily, that may be the problem: too much effortful thesping. But it's not their fault. Their unrewarding toil is a consequence of Evans's direction." Full Review

Preview sit white
95
The Huffington Post

"The piece is brilliant. Drawing on his many skills, Quijada begins with prenatal silent happiness in the womb...and then fills in just about everything he did as he grew up to deny his father's wishes and became the accomplished playwright-actor he ineluctably proves to be...Perhaps Quijada's most compelling element is his humanity...Anyone reaching the denouement without feeling an emotional tug might want to do some serious psychic introspection." Full Review

Preview 83381 3
90
The Clyde Fitch Report

"'The Apple Family Plays' were a remarkable achievement in American theater and 'The Gabriel Family Plays,' though familiar in construction, are no less remarkable for their astonishing naturalism and for much, much more...Given the high quality of Nelson’s writing and the playwright’s direction of the cast, any cavil about not enough Trump denigration taking place and not enough misgiving about Clinton being expressed is just that: a cavil." Full Review

Preview spamilton white
70
The Huffington Post

"There are some worthy gems along the nose-thumbing way, and since this is Alessandrini after several decades of his Gerard-foolery, the results are mixed...Suspecting that there may not be 70 minutes of material to squeeze from Miranda's masterpiece, Alessandrini uses the show as a new 'Forbidden Broadway' op. He fares well enough with these...The huge saving graces throughout are Alessandrini's direction and Gerry McIntyre's choreography." Full Review

Preview daybythesea
90
The Huffington Post

"The actors bring infinite subtleties to their assignments...Firth’s sense of intelligent dolefulness, Tanner’s authority, Godwin’s quick shifts between anger and regret, McKie’s enduring sadness are only part of the ensemble’s overall effectiveness...Surely, much credit for the success of this 'A Day by the Sea' goes to Austin Pendleton...He is attuned to Hunter’s Chekhovian blend of disillusionment, humor and eventual acceptance, and brings it all to vibrant, plangent life." Full Review

Preview cats
90
The Huffington Post

"The revival, again directed by Trevor Nunn, is absolutely as entertaining as initially it was...New choreographer, Tony-winning Andy Blankenbuehler, has been respectfully true to Gillian Lynne’s seminal work while beautifully enhancing it...There are so many astonishing aspects to 'Cats' that it’s a challenge to decide where to continue the praise. The cast isn’t a bad place...The moving bodies are mesmerizing, and Blankenbuehler makes certain the movement rarely slows." Full Review

Preview bggig
85
The Huffington Post

"Jonathan Munby’s first-rate Shakespeare’s Globe production...Throughout, Munby keeps the disdain for Jews prominent...Pryce plays Shylock as a man of great dignity, despite (because of?) the hatred accorded him...During the parts of the play when the Shylock plot gets a breather and the competition for Portia’s hand and its aftermath takes focus, Munby hews to a more tradition approach every bit as successful as the enhanced Shylock episodes. He has a first-rate cast performing for him." Full Review

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50
The Huffington Post

"For a while, 'Simon Says' looks as if it’s going to be fun…Then, with James going into his complicated trance, the enjoyment begins leaking out...'Simon Says' turns into a tour de force for Goes as James. He twitches, he writhes, he tumbles, he switches voices, he falls, he goes numb, he looks if he’s dead…The channeler’s cavorting is initially engaging, then sillier and sillier until, finally, it’s no more than tiresome. By fade-out, it hasn’t delivered any substantive point at all." Full Review

Preview runaways 220x330
75
The Huffington Post

"Even though 'Runaways' only takes up 80 minutes, Swados herself appears to run out of fresh comments to make...What Swados had going for her then, though, and what director Sam Pinkleton and choreographer Ani Taj have now are young performers bringing 'Runaways' to exuberant life...There is no way to overestimate the contribution these on-stage runaways are offering the audience...While depicting runaways, they do an admirable job of running away with Swados’s show." Full Review

Preview hello dillie white
90
The Huffington Post

“One of the funniest items is ‘Shattered illusions,’ a reflection on how she’s too often been taken in by men’s dishonesty...Presenting her highly amusing tirade in two acts...Throughout it, Keane gives a bravura performance...Once or twice Keane pulls back on the rib-tickling vitriol...At the piano and occasionally singing along is Michael Roulston, and he’s a decided asset. Simon Green, the accomplished cabaret performer in his own right, directs.” Full Review

Preview confusions white
85
The Huffington Post

"Ayckbourn rarely falls below a certain laugh level. Many of his rib-tickling jokes—and the situations from which he derives them—involve rancorous marrieds. That’s the case with two of the five one-acts stuffing this jolly evening…Ayckbourn, a rare playwright who knows exactly how to direct his own work, does just that with endlessly skilled actors." Full Review

Preview oneill masks
70
The Huffington Post

"These two one-acts, directed by company artistic director Alex Roe with sly bemusement, were written some time before the playwright won the first Pulitzer Prize...The longer entry dates from 1916 and is unexpected not only because so much of the early, feeling-his-way O’Neill is rarely revived but because it’s—guess what!—a comedy...The clever curtain raiser is the 1913 'Recklessness,' a melodrama." Full Review

Preview rsz 1rsz evening at the talkhouse
75
The Clyde Fitch Report

"'Evening at the Talk House' may not rivet the audience with chatter about trivial sitcoms in which his characters have appeared or been involved. But it has the impressive effect of confirming Shawn as remarkably prescient. He’s sussed out the 'normalizing' of destructive behavior settling over us as we speak...As directed with silken menace by Scott Elliott, the actors acquit themselves with aplomb, perhaps Broderick chief among them." Full Review

Preview jonah and otto
60
The Huffington Post

"Trying to make precise sense of what’s transpiring moment to moment may not be worth a ticket buyer’s time. The script doesn’t bear the weight of too much analysis...This piece may be a small lapse in playwright Holman’s career...The pressing reason to see 'Jonah and Otto' is to watch what Simonian and Gormley do with their meaty roles, as directed by Hughes...Although Holman’s play adds up to less than the sum of its parts, the acting amounts to a good deal more." Full Review

Preview 299518
70
The Huffington Post

"Saracho’s play—so smart about prejudice often seemingly rampant—goes somewhat off the tracks...She lets the audience get ahead of her...Though that goes some way to vitiate 'Fade,' it doesn’t undermine the play completely. Her observations about the complexities of intolerance are astute...The playwright is valuably abetted by director Jerry Ruiz." Full Review

Preview unfaithfully cropped
90
The Huffington Post

"'Yours Unfaithfully' is a definite find…What happens as the final curtain approaches in Malleson’s acerbic comedy will not be revealed, but it’s absolutely perfect...If Malleson wasn’t the exactly right man for his time, he may still be a man for 2017. He’s astute at understanding the complications that arise when men and women blithely place themselves above bourgeois attitudes…To bring this portrait of an alternate design for living to pungent life, Bank couldn’t have found a better cast." Full Review

Preview rsz god of vengeance
55
The Huffington Post

for a previous production "There are two immediately pressing reasons to see ‘God of Vengeance.’ The first is historical curiosity…The second reason to rush out is that this is the controversial work serving as the inspiration for ‘Indecent’…There are a few reasons not to attend...'God of Vengeance' may have passed as dramaturgically strong over a century ago, but it registers as more than a little awkward now…Although a few of the actors are up to the requirements, a heap of the thesping leaves a lot to be desired." Full Review

Preview bright colors
55
The Huffington Post

"Gerry goes on to ramble on about trivial topic after trivial subject..'Bright Colors' is a character study. That’s to say that about 10 minutes before Droege’s 70 minutes end and after Gerry has sniffed cocaine, drunk any number of margaritas, urinated against a wall and regurgitated, he sobers up and reveals what’s really on his mind...Sure, his exposing a lonely, loveless side is something, but it transpires after many spectators may have long since dismissed the giddily prolix fellow." Full Review

Preview rancho viejo white
90
The Clyde Fitch Report

"LeFranc’s clever and courageous point is that happiness, unhappiness and everything in between are present in the small moments of life...Three hours is nothing when a script is so funny and so true as to how most people conduct themselves...An additional boost is Daniel Aukin’s steady direction of the game cast...This ensemble rates high for its grasp of behaviors that we all catch ourselves in more often than we like to admit...I’m a total sucker for 'Rancho Viejo.'" Full Review

Preview fwd key 800x1200
45
The Huffington Post

"I won’t go so far as to say it borders on resolutely good...To give Silver some credit, he makes clear—or clear enough—what he wants to say with 'This Day Forward.' It’s a form of the old saw about the sins of the parents being visited on the children...The characters are so off-putting that they discourage any audience sympathy...The cast members do as right as possible with the requirements and as directed with his usual high level of competence by Mark Brokaw." Full Review

Preview othello remix white
60
The Huffington Post

"The four men barely take a breather while moving about and gesticulating in the now time-honored rapper manner, but something does nag about the modernizing. There’s the distinct feeling that those involved want current audiences to appreciate Shakespeare but are concerned that his language has grown to be off-putting. It hasn’t, and at no point does the replacement verse reach the supernal level of the real thing." Full Review

Preview women of a certain age white
85
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Nelson beautifully illustrates how one particular American family stratum lives in our day and age...The irresistible thing about the Gabriels is how widely their conversation ranges...The Trump-Clinton presidential contest is one of the topics raised...If there’s one element in Nelson’s surpassing work that doesn’t entirely compute, it’s ironically the time spent on such topics...Nonetheless, Nelson’s accomplishment as a playwright is matched by his accomplishment as a director." Full Review

Preview master harold white 2
95
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Fugard’s play is as fresh as the morning’s headlines. Any morning, lately...Theirs is a relationship brought to a boiling point by the 84-year-old Fugard, who proves that he’s one of the few playwrights who can direct his own work. The cast is flawless...Fugard’s true achievement with 'Master Harold…' (the ellipsis conveys plenty) is exposing the tearoom as a microcosm as he throws harsh light on a macrocosm." Full Review

Preview frontpage
90
The Clyde Fitch Report

"The first must-see Broadway offering of the season...Such fast-talking newsroom is orchestrated impeccably by O’Brien. What’s required of the audience is close attention to all that’s said... Lane finally does barrel through the upstage door...And then he unleashes the performance you’ve waited for. It is replete with an artillery of sly takes and withering looks, Lane’s innate sense of when to raise and when to lower the volume...O’Brien’s gorgeously etched presentation is as good as it gets." Full Review

Preview final
75
The Clyde Fitch Report

"The five actors, whom Michael Mayer directs with utmost authority, play together well. Needing to present characters who age 44 years, Ryan and Armitage have the biggest challenges, and they come out okay, if best suited to Act II. Rosenfield’s Jamie and Kazan’s Rose only age 21 years and come out OK, too. Susan Hilferty’s costumes help with the time progressions." Full Review

Preview alltheways
85
The Huffington Post

"While LaBute has written an unusual scary piece, he's also put together a powerful one-woman show that two-time Tony winner Light shapes as a tour de force. Under Leigh Silverman's seamless direction, Light meets the requirements of moving from Mrs. Johnson's assured teacher to a wife in love with her supportive husband to a woman recalling the thrill of physical passion to someone attempting to deal with guilt that won't be assuaged...We're lucky to have her back again." Full Review

Preview undergroundrailroad
35
The Huffington Post

"Kidwell and Sheppard make their overall engagé point. They make it with such vigor and conviction that it occurred to me some audience members might be thinking how brilliant the folderol was...I believe there's a thin line between commenting on vulgarity and being straightforwardly vulgar. In the instance of 'Underground Railroad Game,' I'm convinced the line has been crossed from comment-on to example-of." Full Review

Preview fiorello mps
65
The Clyde Fitch Report

"What is to celebrate here is Harnick and Bock's work, equally for its melodic sophistication as for the clarion singing of the cast of this revival. Every note, every lyric is beautifully produced by the troupe, whether simply singing or also executing frequently charming choreography. I ought to mention, however, the detriments...The book is thin...As the director of this revival, Robert Moss lacks Abbott’s knack. Here the tuner’s sketchiness is made manifest." Full Review

Preview layover white
85
The Huffington Post

"An irresistibly intriguing new play...If Parisse and Rothenberg are to 'The Layover' what Roman and Granger are to 'Strangers on a Train,' they’re just as effective as their celluloid predecessors. They’re decidedly sexy in the sex scenes, and the emoting in the later sequences is equally effective. Trip Cullman is the director getting them down and dirty...He also reaps plenty from the other four cast members who might easily have come off as two-dimensional but don’t." Full Review

Preview troilus white
30
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Sullivan appears to have decided that 'Troilus and Cressida' is a comedy…When so many performances are, at best, merely competent, only Sullivan can be blamed…Every once in a while, a chair or some other object used in a just-concluded scene is tossed into one of the unruly piles. Director Sullivan is surely implying how endlessly wasteful war is. Given this misguided enterprise, the mounting heaps become a metaphor for Shakespeare being trashed." Full Review

Preview quietly title author 352x500
80
The Huffington Post

"'Quietly' is worth seeing—it absolutely is...The suspense and appeal lie in the adversaries’ give-and-take as they attempt to come to terms with their shared goal…Riveting as 'Quietly' is—the title appropriately indicates the tenor of the protagonists’ quarrel—it’s more like an appetizer than an entree. In the old days, it would have served as a strong curtain-raiser for the main event. Consequently, as they’re exiting, audiences may feel they’re hungry for more." Full Review

Preview osloshowpage.jpeg  284x50000 q85 subsampling 2
85
The Clyde Fitch Report

for a previous production "Using not only imagined dialogue but incorporating what is already well-known about the accords, Rogers’ drama certainly has a pungent air of verisimilitude...Everything that transpires in 'Oslo' is dramatic, but talky: don’t let anyone argue that strict attention needn’t be paid to every sentence uttered...In a work where performances are meant to be subservient to a broader purposes, the ensemble is flawless. Rogers’ chief achievement is a beautifully balanced play." Full Review

Preview liberty white
40
The Huffington Post

"Undeniably well-intentioned but ultimately tepid...The nice idea here is to have the statue portrayed by a young girl and treated very much like a living person. There’s another strong idea couched in a song called 'America for the Americans,' which has the effect of reminding audiences that the victimizing of immigrants then is still going on today as Donald Trump campaigns...The music throughout is generically rousing and the figures depicted are also generic." Full Review

Preview shrew1
95
The Clyde Fitch Report

"Lloyd jubilantly knows what she’s doing, and, with this 'Shrew,' she jubilantly comments on male behavior…It’s not going out on a limb to say that Lloyd delivers one of the best free Shakespeare offerings ever, courtesy of a cast of male-impersonator beauties, led by the fearless Janet McTeer…Indeed, there’s not a woman as a man in the entire cast who isn’t pulling the drag off hilariously and looking to be having a helluva good time at it...Lloyd fills this 'Shrew' with delightful surprises." Full Review

Preview i ll say she is white
80
The Huffington Post

"It’s instantly obvious that Noah has thrown himself into the project because he loves the four sophisticated nitwits and believes himself a sufficient Groucho lookalike...If we can’t have the originals, this quartet more than suffices. Certainly, Shelden on the harp and Roper at the piano fare exceedingly well. A bevy of dancing lovelies abound. Okay, under Amanda Sisk’s direction, an aura of the amateur prevails, but somehow that makes the sort-of-revival all the more entertaining." Full Review

Preview radiant white
75
The Huffington Post

"In order to go along with the mounting macabre proceedings, patrons have to believe that the two homemakers are extremely gullible when Miss Dee first appears, but maybe that’s easily enough done...During a lengthy prior-to-closing sequence, the actors play all the neighbors who show up for their offspring’s first birthday party. It’s a tour de force with an emphasis on the force." Full Review

Preview 18579 show portrait large
90
The Huffington Post

"David Javerbaum’s yuk-a-minute comedy…The beauty of the script, directed by ubiquitous Joe Mantello, is not only that every single one-line gag lands solidly but also that Javerbaum has wrapped a commendable religious philosophy in a comic package. Amen to him." Full Review