Richard and I saw this play on Broadway on 11/27.  It's an adaptation of the novel by Emile Zola, the adaptation done by English playwright Helen Edmundson.  The draw of the the show: it marks the Broadway debut of Keira Knightley.  She gave a strong performance, I was impressed with her.  For one thing, it was hard to imagine that the glamorous, luminous woman in the Coco Mademoiselle ad on the back of the program was the plain, dejected woman we saw onstage.

She held her own and then some.  There were many scenes early in the play when she was onstage with a group - - she was saying nothing and yet she was the only character you watched.  She has that kind of magnetism.

 

The other great performance was by Judith Light as her aunt/mother-in-law.  She's a real pro.  She spent the last part of the show as a silent, glowering crone, and reminded me of Bette Davis in *Burnt Offerings* - - in a good way!

 

Richard feels I should mention the men.  Gabriel Ebert played the sickly cousin/husband.  We saw him in *Casa Valentina*, and between the two shows, he showed a lot of range as an actor.  Matt Ryan (no relation) played the hunky friend.  He was good, but there's not much to the role besides being handsome and flipping out at the end.

 

The set (by Beowulf Boritt) and costumes (by Jane Greenwood) were well done, in the style of the period but used in an imaginative way by director Evan Cabnet.  One problem with the show, and I'm not completely sure anyone could have prevented it: the audience was a little too eager to laugh.  Not nervous laughter, but actual laughter, like they thought it was funny.  We're not used to seeing unbridled melodrama and I guess it seems comically hokey to some people.