By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
BOY GETS GIRL (Off–West End). The Graduate’s romantic endorsement of stalking is referred to — specifically, and critically — in Rebecca (Spinning Into Butter) Gilman’s new American play, here on the bounce from New York and Chicago. Uptight, career-driven Theresa (Katrin Cartlidge) is goaded into a blind date with the affable if cloddish Tony (Demetri Goritsas). Alas, nice though he seems, she’s not convinced they have much in common. But Tony’s just a guy who can’t hear no; he delivers flowers to her office the next day, and begins leaving increasingly perverse and threatening phone messages. Gilman’s melodrama recalls William Mastrosimone’s Extremities, though rather than exploiting, even enjoying, the plight of her victim, as Mastrosimone’s play did, Gilman uses it as a canvas to paint a fundamental distance, and distrust, between men and women. Ian Rickson directs a British cast who portray Americans flawlessly. Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, Sloane Square, SW1; Sloane Square Underground; through December 15. Call 011-44-207-565-5000, or visitwww.royal courttheatre.com.
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (West End). Ned Beatty’s Big Daddy is to Tennessee Williams’ classic what Brian Dennehy’s Willy Loman was to Death of a Salesman in the revival seen at the Ahmanson last year, a masterful, robust — if by-the-numbers — rendition. Which also describes Anthony Page’s production. Brendan Fraser’s magnetic, muscular Brick floating on one crutch around a massive, symbolic bed on his countless excursions to an upstage bar, is a majestic, balletic performance, a monument to understatement, a quiet, earth-moving rumble as Brick slides into inebriation — even as Williams states and restates his jokes and poetic ironies with redundant force. Frances O’Connor, meanwhile, transforms Maggie the Cat into a gazelle. The cumulative impact is strikingly elegant and at times thunderous, though the surprises are few. Lyric Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1; Piccadilly Circus Underground; through January 12. Call 011-207-494-5045.
GERTRUDE AND ALICE: A LIKENESS TO LOVING (Off–West End). Imported from New York’s Foundry Theater, writer-performers Lola Pashalinski and Linda Chapman’s piece about the life and love of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas — in this ever-so-tender choreographed staging by Ann Bogart — is more poem than play, a fiction that slides between first and third person, riding on the tug and pull between sentimentality and the cool whimsy that keeps it at bay. Despite twinges of awkwardness, Pashalinski gets to the heart of what it means to be an abstract writer, neglected if not actually scorned, and meditates effectively upon the capriciousness of fame. Drill Hall, 16 Chenies St., WC1; Goodge Street Underground; through December 1. Call 011-44-207-637-8270.
P.S.: Don’t forget to take the eight-hour time differential into account when phoning for reservations.