Theater: ‘The Snow Geese’ flies low

Snow Geese Theater
The first scene of “The Snow Geese,” about whether it’s unbecoming to invite the maid to join a toast, is practically everything that this play has to say. But there are two hours left.
Credit: Joan Marcus

In September, Metro highlighted Manhattan Theatre Club’s “The Snow Geese” as our critic’s pick for the season. Unfortunately, this month’s previews weren’t producing the hype we’d anticipated, which was forewarning the conclusion we reached upon seeing the play: It’s not as good as it should be.

It has all of the right elements, those that led us to believe it would be better: Sharr White, who wrote the “The Other Place” last season; director Daniel Sullivan, who previously won a Tony for MTC’s “Proof” in 2000; and Mary-Louise Parker, who also claims a Tony for “Proof” while working under Sullivan.

Shockingly, these ingredients don’t add up to much; instead, we have a show that looks like a shadow of the play that it wants to be: a poor man’s Chekhov, perhaps. There’s even a gun (among the rifles). It does go off, as we know it will.

The plot focuses on the Gaesling family — Gosling would have been too on-the-nose — at their lodge at the start of hunting season pre-World War I. It’s also  two months since the head of household died, leaving his heirs in financial shambles that had heretofore been cleverly disguised. Naturally, this revelation and its fallout leave the previously entitled clan without a safety net. Only the Ukrainian maid (Jessica Love) finds dark humor in the devastation of the witless wealthy who may now — tragically — need to become working-class.

Parker, of “Weeds” fame, knows how to milk the fragile-cum-steely widow bit. And Danny Burstein can do no wrong. The rest of the cast is also on the mark for what it’s given. But the acting isn’t enough to bring a flawed work up to its potential — nor are John Lee Beatty’s typically gorgeous, gliding set pieces. The play is not grander for its design; the sumptuousness of the scenery only serves to dwarf the story itself.

And if our critique isn’t enough — and we understand your doubt, given the facts — it must be added that “The Snow Geese” is the first play in a very long time that did not end in a fashionable standing ovation. No one except the elderly or injured rose until the underutilized cast was offstage — and then, only to be the first out.

 

If you go

‘The Snow Geese’
Through Dec. 15
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
261 W. 47th St.
$67-$125,
www.thesnowgeesebroadway.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…