Tag Archives: Brian O’Keefe
Greed—that timeless vice that steamrolls over everything in its path—is as relevant today as it was in Lillian Hellman’s 1939 drama The Little Foxes, now receiving a sumptuous revival at Palm Beach Dramaworks.
Greed. Sexism. Conscienceless businessmen. Blackmail. Rebellious youth. Women fighting to break the glass ceiling. Women using sex to manipulate men. Bank embezzlement. Even murder. No, not the latest installment of The Real Housewives. It’s Palm Beach Dramaworks’ revival opening this week of The Little Foxes.
Homicidal rage against a corrupt world spews into the audience in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ Sweeney Todd. But its singular spin is that the serial throat-slitting barber does not start as a vengeance-obsessed fiend. It it adds a dimension of, not forgiveness, but compassion to this cross between gleeful Grand Guignol and merciless condemnation of socio-economic inequity.
Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production of Arcadia is Tom Stoppard’s love letter to the miracle of human intelligence’s pursuit of learning — with a gentle jab at the hubris of those who are so taken with that pursuit.
The emotional histrionics and pyrotechnic acting in the first act notwithstanding, it’s the quiet poignant moments of compassion and connection in the second act that are the most deeply affecting in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ skillful resurrection of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana.
When done well, the astringent Les Liaisons Dangereuses is an increasingly horrifying descent into a morally bankrupt aristocratic society. Palm Beach Dramaworks’ solidly executed and lushly produced edition comes very close to achieving that level, but it falls just a shade short of communicating the venality of curdled souls.
To summarize The Lion in Winter as a drama about a dysfunctional family is to facilely devalue this examination of just how base the human animal can be in the grip of power and ambition. Director William Hayes and a fine cast make the most of the acerbic gallows humor in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ bravura production, but they also build Goldman’s underlying case for the less than laudable aspects of our nature.