Saturday August 17, 2013 / 8:00pmThe Color Purple
Assigned at Box Office
How was your experience?
First of all, the Bad. This is a misandristic feminist musical play. The men are violent, stupid or foolish people. The women are oppressed, heroic, or innately good. It is also sexually vulgar, to the point of embarrassment, as staged. This opinion was clearly not shared by, or was irrelevent to, most other people at the performance I attended, which was close to a full house. The audience was engaged, highly entertained, and responded enthusiastically and vocally to the performance. It got the now obligatory standing ovation, which was arguably deserved in this instance (for the performance, not the play). Which brings me to the Good. The play is very well cast, from the stars to the background characters (some of whom were in multiple roles). The actors were convincing, even when broadly drawn. It is full of energy and highly enjoyable, albeit not memorable, music. It is astounding to me that this play, which has a large physical presence at times, is so well choreographed on the relatively small stage at the Mercury. (I saw Barnum at the Mercury, which was also a large play marvelously presented on a small stage.) And the costuming is superb - I would not be surprised if they are given the Jeff Award for Costume Design. The comic relief, in the form of a trio of women who comment on the action, is delightful. So, if you can get past the Bad, you will thoroughly enjoy the Good. I did. As an aside, be sure to read the program notes about the actors. These people are not mere performers. The day jobs some of them have would be impressive enough. Add in their thespian skills, and you just have to wonder where they find the time.