After suffering through the fetid Relatively Speaking, my pain must have shown in the scowl on my face as I trudged toward the exit at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. “To get it, you have to be Jewish,” said a woman ahead of me. What nonsense. Since when do you have to be gay to see the truth in The Boys in the Band, or black to be moved by the universal humanity of Lorraine Hansberry or August Wilson? My date was Jewish, and she didn’t laugh either. Well, she later admitted over a badly needed post-theater nightcap, she did laugh at a couple of lines. O.K., two laughs in a 2½ hour evening of three alleged one-act “comedies” is not what I call much of a success, and Relatively Speaking is a vulgar, poker-faced failure of dire proportions. You don’t have to be Jewish to know bad writing, hysterical overacting and lame direction when you see it, even if the guilty perpetrators include Elaine May and Woody Allen, two of my heroes, actors such as Marlo Thomas and Steve Guttenberg, and director John Turturro, who should stick to acting. All of them have triumphed on previous occasions. This is not one of them. Read More
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