Manhattan Theatre Club
City Center Stage I
West 55th Street, Btw. 6th and 7th Avenues
Written and Performed by
(Lynn Redgrave Website)
Artistic Director, Lynne Meadow
Executive Producer, Barry Grove
Directed by Joseph Hardy
Scenic Design, Tobin Ost
Costume Design, Alejo Vietti
Lighting Design, Rui Rita
Original Music & Sound Design, John Gromada
Production Stage Manager, C.A. Clark
General Manager, Florie Seery
Assoc. Artistic Director, Mandy Greenfield
Director of Marketing, Debra Waxman-Pilla
Press Representative, Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 17, 2009
Lynn Redgrave is mesmerizing in any scenario, on any stage. In her newest one-woman show, Nightingale, Ms. Redgrave brings her mother Rachel’s mother, Beatrice, to life, and for one intermission-less, long act we are let into her internal visualization of her grandmother’s life story. Oh, how I had wished that tonight’s story was hers, instead; I long to hear about the Redgraves themselves, growing up with Vanessa, more about Lynn Redgrave’s rapid marriage (briefly alluded to tonight), and more about the exquisite Natasha Richardson, Lynn’s niece, who died in a freak skiing accident this year. I had last seen Ms. Redgrave in a 2005 adaptation of The Constant Wife, Somerset Maugham’s comedy of manners, and tonight’s performance was in another realm, toned down, reflective, but all too elusive.
Ms. Redgrave seemed to compare her own unhappy marriage with her grandmother’s sad experience, although she was not personally aware of Beatrice’s Victorian upbringing. In tonight’s musings, with Ms. Redgrave assuming Beatrice’s voice, we heard about Beatrice’s unfulfilled sex with her husband, the children she resented, an unrequited infatuation with a man of the earth, and her deep loneliness, like a chasm of black space. Ms. Redgrave hinted at her own profound loneliness and hasty, life-altering choices, and she drew us in, but only so far. Ms. Redgrave is poignant, classy, sophisticated, literary, worldly, and warm. Her recent resurgence of illness required her to consult her script in writing, but this noticeable prop only added to the fascination of the monologue. There were some added projections, sound effects, occasional music, but the spotlight never wavered from Ms. Redgrave’s magnetic face.
Again, I’d love to hear Ms. Redgrave skip a generation and talk about her parents (Rachel Kempson and Michael Redgrave), her own youth and teens, her own psychic battles, her own emotional rewards and challenges, her own dreams and sentiments, and, again, her escapades with her sister and brother, her film and stage memoirs, even her life as a weight-loss icon. Lynn Redgrave, herself, should be the star of her next story. She is a treasure unto her own.
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