Edward Rothstein

Edward Rothstein is a critic with The Wall Street Journal. 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 (24)
45
The Wall Street Journal

“This self-described ‘show about death’ bombards us with every piece of theatrical weaponry Timbers and numerous other imagineers could devise...Perfect’s score sounds like a simulacrum of Broadway show music, the cloth cut to fit each occasion, with rising modulations and drawn-out cadences simulating drama...The major impression, ultimately, is not that of a clever romp wickedly testing the limits of the tasteless, but of a repetitive refrain of disgust and disdain." Full Review

80
The Wall Street Journal

“Thrilling...So virtuosic is Steven Skybell in that role that he often needs no language at all for us to feel his character swerve from ironic mockery to righteous anger to heartbreak...Illes is engaging and steely and Hoffman is comic and a bit over-the-top...The production’s polish and verve make for an exuberant and touching celebration..But there are also crucial complications. The show’s attitude to the observantly Jewish culture of the shtetl...is itself quite ambivalent." Full Review

45
The Wall Street Journal

"This production is on first impression, immediately involving...If this is myth, it is weak stuff, its power and mystery insisted upon but not felt. If it means to offer a moral lesson, it is even weaker...Why then do we tell this story? Maybe because it makes us feel morally sensitive without the labor of being so...But Ti Moune is strong only because she doesn’t mind being a victim. Little about this love is admirable, and its self-sacrifice is unconvincing." Full Review

65
The Wall Street Journal

“Credit the theater company Bedlam with recognizing that the original work is far more ambiguous, disturbing and surreal than it might seem...It isn’t really a performance of the play; it is a remaking of it...Unfortunately, the result is more interesting to think about than to experience...This production takes some of the play’s more subtle aspects and makes them literal...We are also meant to be unsettled...In practice, though, much turns tedious." Full Review

20
The Wall Street Journal

“In this production, the real tyrant is not Caesar, but its director, Oskar Eustis. He more clearly comes across as ambitious, inconsistent, with little regard for limits, manipulating his audience by playing to popular taste...But what about Shakespeare?…He was exploring the evolving tensions between populism and patrician heritage...Such themes don’t fit easily with Eustis’ grade-school notions. But they are far more intriguing than the tyrannical vision he crudely enforces in their place.” Full Review

90
The Wall Street Journal

“The musical’s various elements are so finely fitted and its cast so accomplished that all comparison is quickly left behind. It is intelligent, well-crafted, often exhilarating…A great deal of the credit must go to the book by McNally…Altomare is wondrous as Anya…Her voice is luminous and powerful and clear…In the expansion of their film score, Mr. Flaherty and Ms. Ahrens have created something much more coherent and comprehensive while keeping its highlights.” Full Review

75
The Wall Street Journal

"The play is generally so smartly written...and the direction of Sher so taut that you are drawn in...If 'Oslo' means for us to recognize how important negotiations and close human contact are, I found myself agreeing but noting that they can also seduce and distort and that the arrogance of believing that you can venture out on your own and gamble with the lives of others is something not particularly deserving of praise. Aside from that though, the play fascinates." Full Review

25
The Wall Street Journal

"It is clear how little concern there is here for the wry Truffaut-esque wit of the 2001 film...The musical is so full of stage business that the main impression is of tumult, which is more evocative of Times Square than Paris...There are so many misjudgments of taste and style in the first two-thirds of the show that I was becoming immensely sympathetic to Amélie’s desire to avoid excessive human contact...Most songs were bland and mildly tuneful." Full Review

10
The Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Gold is apparently unhappy with reality—the play’s reality. So he creates a world of artifice more suited to his tastes...The results almost eclipse the two actors who lead the cast...Ferris barely hints at Laura’s shifting wisps of hope, shame and despair; neither do we get a sense of a fully developed private world...The night I saw her, Field was a monotone hysteric with time out for creepy sentimentality...Mr. Gold’s preferred figurine here is not glass, but leaden and sodden." Full Review

85
The Wall Street Journal

"I felt unconstrained by the show’s built-in artifice and was swept up by the vitality and simplicity of this production...Jake Gyllenhaal as George is thoroughly convincing, his singing and acting of a piece...The production itself, directed by Sarna Lapine, avoids letting Mr. Sondheim’s self-grandiosity seem grandiose...This fervent, enticing production also reveals something latent in the musical that is more intriguing and all-too-rare: an abiding faith in the powers of art." Full Review

65
The Wall Street Journal

"Though it is a problematic play—a rewritten, time-shifted transmutation of a young Chekhov’s untitled, posthumously discovered and monstrously overstuffed drama, ‘The Present’ is also a terrific vehicle for its two stars, Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh...By the second half, you are likely to tire of both—and the characterless stage design by Alice Babidge is no help—but the two actors keep the play aloft for long enough so you don’t fully mind its thorough deflation." Full Review

75
The Wall Street Journal

"Kent’s direction and Ms. Lange’s performance really keep the character’s descent under choreographed control...It is a portrayal that sustains the audience in rapt voyeuristic attention almost to the end…This ensemble makes for a compelling evening. If the impression doesn’t last much longer, the fault is partly O’Neill’s. For all the careful choreography of spiritual descent, you don’t watch this play to see characters evolve (or devolve). There is nothing really to be surprised at." Full Review

40
The Wall Street Journal

"Lane almost justifies the play during the first half hour as he bumbles around the mound...The play relies on the supposition that all these goings-on have some weighty import—if only they could be properly understood...Perhaps Mac has read too much Walter Benjamin about the salvationary power of death-saturated Baroque tragic drama. What Mac offers us instead is an exercise in self-indulgence, with a dollop of facile allusion and a dose of bad faith." Full Review

70
The Wall Street Journal

"A gently probing and eccentrically unsettling play...This play is best when it skillfully keeps its questions hovering in the air, letting none settle to earth...The direction by James Macdonald creates a taut but playful psychological drama that lets nothing become pedantic, following the text’s lead and dissolving most solemnity with glints of wit...At the same time, there was something unsatisfying here. Perhaps it was the sense that there really was meant to be, in the end, a takeaway." Full Review

70
The Wall Street Journal

“Ms. Landau and her superb cast never feigned enthusiasm and never just preached to the converted. They believed. And as a technical achievement, the show is extraordinary...Pure silliness readily mixes with knowing kitsch...The cartoon is transformed into a combination campy circus, rock concert and amusement park...In addressing those adolescent issues, the play is fervently sincere peddling pedantic homilies." Full Review

60
The Wall Street Journal

"The audience was charmed by his impersonations and cheered his resentments...This is meant to be more than merely entertaining; we are supposed to shed moronic ignorance. Do we? It turns out that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...It might be poor critical manners to so solemnly respond to a show that so many enjoy so much, but surely not even mock professors would want this show’s title to allude to them." Full Review

80
The Wall Street Journal

“Rigorously faithful to Beckett except perhaps for its scenery…This production’s realism made the situation’s grotesqueries all the more horrifying and the dramatic challenge all the greater…Ms. Wiest heroically carries the play on her shoulders and brow—sometimes breaking into fury, sometimes visibly working herself into happiness…Yet, in Ms. Wiest’s powerful performance, there are times we come to doubt those smiles…A vein of unease runs through Ms. Wiest’s portrayal.” Full Review

55
The Wall Street Journal

“The new songs are fast-moving genre pieces that mostly go down without hiccups. O’Brien’s direction never lets the pace slacken, even if indigestion might result...If your tastes in candy and drama differ from mine, there is enough here at least to provide some amusement. And it is a legitimate treat to see how Wonka’s small-sized servants, the Oompa Loompas, make their appearance...The musical’s clotted and confused message left me longing for a steaming bowl of cabbage surprise." Full Review

85
The Wall Street Journal

for a previous production "The greatest challenge becomes hearing the dialogue beyond the well-justified laughter...Silliness? Slapstick? Sure, but also a tribute to the valiant pseudo-professionalism of this imagined troupe...What Buster Keaton did with clock hands and Charlie Chaplin did with an old boot this cast accomplishes with murder...Mark Bell’s direction keeps an unrelenting pace that leaves the audience breathless and the actors clueless." Full Review

75
The Wall Street Journal

“A stunningly beautiful staging…If you temporarily submit to the manipulations of O’Neill and Mr. Jones, you also come to see that the play is both more and less than agitprop. It is more because there are magnificent soliloquies in which we hear the rhythms and phrasings of actual people…At such moments, if you forget the author’s hectoring, you admire his artifice. The play is also less than agitprop, because it doesn’t fully accept the message it begins to peddle.” Full Review

35
The Wall Street Journal

"Each scene in this chamber piece leaves Charles, for all his high principles, haplessly outpaced...He misreads and is misread. And we too are uncertain about how to judge and how much to trust. But alas, our understanding of his dislocation never coheres. We are never fully convinced about either the plausibility of these events or of the characters’ motivations...The play is like a domestic dispute that has gone on too long without an outsider’s perspective." Full Review

85
The Wall Street Journal

"Wilson’s play is so disciplined, so full of distinctive voices with their own pungent passions and fears, and so meticulously brought to life by a taut ensemble feelingly directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson that we fully accept this world as it is given to us in this production...By great good fortune it is also possible to see the same thing happen right now in Denzel Washington’s filmed version of 'Fences.' Neither should be missed." Full Review

80
The Wall Street Journal

"Each scene undermines what had been taken for granted before. We become disoriented, baffled, unable to identify the past or even the present...The dismantling of dramatic reality treats dementia as an intellectual process, not as an emotional one. But Mr. Langella corrects the balance. We cannot help but be caught up in his suspicion, first when he believes 'there is something funny going on,' and finally, searingly, when it isn’t even clear to him to whom it has all been happening." Full Review

70
The New York Times

"As a tour, 'The Ride' was least successful...The finest moments had nothing to do with the city’s dazzling stage sets—its buildings and avenues—but with the great crowds found within them, which is why 'The Ride' is best taken when the streets are packed...'The Ride,' then, begins in pure silliness, much of it not too funny, but when that suited tap-dancer finishes his bit, the tour takes on a cinematic aura. This is, after all, how so many movies and Broadway shows work." Full Review