Dearest and fairest of all the fair damsels on the lam,
My, my, hasn't it been a fun time for all of us. I will not dwell on the - unpleasantness. I cannot apologize enough to you for all the nastiness tossed your way by Y.K.W. The man has lost all self-control, and the hell with him I say. And, more to the point, I cannot thank you enough for The Lad. I have the most charming photos to send you (electronically, of course) but I cannot be certain they will not fall into the hands of the awful Senator Buttinsky, and goodness knows what he'd do with them. Actually, I have a very good idea what he'd do with them - the old pervert - but it's time for another view of B'way as seen through the eyes of the oldest living critic.
Getting Away With Murder.
My Latin teacher (as opposed to my Greek teacher) used to have the most quaint expression. If my Latin doesn't fail me (as my Greek occasionally does - sigh) I believe it was "nili bonum nisi mortum." As this applies to Getting Away With Murder, well, fuck that noise!
Stephen Sondheim and George Furth have combined their estimable talents - and by now we have all taken estimates on the talents of both of them - to confect the most noxious, unclever, unfunny, unthrilling comedy/thriller in the history of theatre. No, that isn't quite harsh enough.
It is a play so bereft of wit and invention that my usher, a seventy year old pinched-faced spinster who reeked of camphor and Johnny Walker Black, even she had more entertainment value.
Where to end. I'm sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself. So tempting when the subject is so happily avoided. Where to begin. All right, a group of highly unpleasant people are gathered, trapped with a corpse, and are forced to reveal the person who put the corpse in that deplorable play - I mean condition.
John Rubinstein Dear John. I have always loved him. I love him a little less now. Not that he doesn't bring a certain intelligence to the proceedings. On the contrary, that is now why I love him a little less. If only he had stayed clear of this muck, this drivel, this insult to the concept of theatre. He labors to bring something human to an utterly inhuman horror. He is almost alone in the task. His acting support must be found in his underwear, since it is assuredly not found in the other actors. His compatriots range from competent to incredibly in-, and the only hope for some of them would to have the Equity cards they undoubtedly forged ripped into little pieces.
The set was big. The gargoyle on the program cover was neat. The plot was hateful, bitter, nasty and OBVIOUS!!!!!!!!! Actually, to be fair, Mr. Furth's dialogue was a cut above his usual standard - raising it, that is, to a level some eighteen steps below the very worst of his competition's. That man should never have been allowed to pick up a pen. And yet, his performance in Sleeper remains a cherished memory. Life can be full of mystery, n'est-ce pas?
I am sorry to have to report this mess to you, but one must take the good with the theatrically revolting. Happily, the play will close in a week.
I beg Mr. Sondheim to only work with is peers, not with untalented toadies. And leave the comedy/thrillers to those who have a gift for both - or even either!
All this has put me in a bad humor. The Lad wants to talk about the situation and I feel I must needs oblige him. How will this mess become untangled? Knowing You Know Who, I suspect it will end in an overdose of Darvon and stingers.
We press on. (Almost as you press on your nails!)
Love and stuff. The Lad licks my neck to be remembered to you. The dear.