NY Theater Review: Betrayal & First Date

The other two shows I saw this weekend from my Theater Wishlist: Betrayal and First Date.

Betrayal

betraayal playbill

This is a situation were the relationship of expectations vs. reality really comes into play. If I had walked into this play randomly, without knowing a thing, I would have Really enjoyed it, and called it a solid evening of great theater. That is the problem with expectations. For this show mine were high. Extremely high you might say. You have an almost sold out show for which getting tickets was an ordeal. A fabulous cast of superstars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, who not only are great actors ( she an Oscar recipient) but are also married and therefore should have good chemistry. You have an institution of a director who has done more wonderful stuff that you can list. And you have a Nobel prize winning playwright. How can that produce nothing short of a spectacular evening? Well it can and it does in my book. The show was good, but fell short of spectacular. My first issue was with the play itself, it was short, i wished we could get like 30 minutes more of it, and a bit more development. As for the performances, Rachel Weisz was great, but i really did not get a great chemistry between her and Rafe Spall.  However Rafe was a revelation for me, a fabulous actor! As for Daniel Craig, he was ok, but not as good as i expected him to be. Which leads me to think that my issue was with the play. I don’t think it served the actors justice and they could have done more with other material. I might be saying something blasphemous to some people here, but even one of the people I saw the play with agreed, the play seems a bit dated. Neither the reverse chronological order not the subject matter is that fresh anymore, it’s just been done to death.   The sets, however, were fabulous. All in all its a good show, but try not to go in expecting a magnificent theatrical event. Its only a solid b+ type of show for me.

Official Description: Mike Nichols directs Harold Pinter’s innovative play about an extramarital affair. This production stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Rafe Spall BETRAYAL originally premiered at London’s National Theatre in 1978 and was immediately hailed as one of Pinter’s masterworks, winning the 1979 Olivier Award for Best New Play. Emma (Rachel Weisz) is married to Robert (Daniel Craig), a publisher, but she has long had an affair with Jerry (Rafe Spall), a literary agent and Robert’s best friend; as, in a brilliant device, time is regained, so the full complexity of their relationships comes to light.Scenic design is by Ian MacNeil. Costume design is by Ann Roth. Lighting design is by Brian MacDevitt. Original music is by James Murphy. Sound design is by Scott Lehrer. Previews 10/1, Opening 11/3) Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

First Datefirst date playbill

This is an hour and a half of pure fun! a must see for those romantics at heart, as well as all of those who have been jaded by the dating process(anyone who appreciates comedy will enjoy it as well – its just tightly done). The musical is basically a first date, with music being used as the “inside voices” of the characters, passing judgement/commenting on the situations at hand. It’s extremely funny and the audience reaction is great, people just could not stop laughing (myself included!).  I don’t want to spoil much, but I have to say some of my favorite scenes were the Google references and the Jewish song.  But my absolute favorite was the bailout song! Once you see this show you’re going to understand, but it had me cracking up! I think we need to institutionalize the bailout song with my friends!!! Krysta Rodriguez is really endearing as the lead, with strong stage presence and a captivating voice. Although i have to say I remember her better vocally from Adams family and from Smash – maybe she was a bit under the weather? as for Zachary Levi his performance as the awkward geeky guy is fabulous, even if his singing voice is just ok, nothing special. Generally a great fun night at the theater!

Some Official Reviews:  Broadway WorldNYTimesEWVariety

Ofiicial Description: When tightly wound Aaron is set up with cool girl Casey, a quick drink turns into a hilarious dinner served with sides of Google background checks, fake emergency phone calls, a slew of bad boy and uptown girl exes, and some seriously saucy chemistry. Can this mismatched pair turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives, or end up at another table for one?

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