It wouldn’t be accurate to label British-born Rosemary Harris “the first lady of the American theater” as long as Julie Harris (no relation) is still alive. But with all the other greats long departed, she’s pretty much in a class by herself. For a good example of just how rare her patrician yet persuasive ability can be in holding a restless audience spellbound in an otherwise painful and pedestrian play, all you have to do is get through the Roundabout revival of The Road to Mecca at the American Airlines Theater on West 42nd Street. For the record, it marks a celebration of her 60th year as a Broadway star. Even as a baggy, arthritic old eccentric with shapeless gray hair clinging to worn sweaters better suited to a dust bin, she is positively divine, but she deserves a better vehicle.
This dreary fugue about independence of the mind and soul in South Africa is a crashing bore by Athol Fugard, the overrated, long-winded playwright whose debatable reputation as the most important voice in South African theater has been inflated beyond justification simply because he’s just about the only voice there is. Read More