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The Elephant Man


beethoven
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I saw this the other night and was disappointed. I found Bradley Cooper's English accent hard to understand at times, and many of his lines were unintelligible. I thought all of the performances were good, but not one was memorable, Patricia Clarkson's excellent interview with Charlie Rose notwithstanding. Bradley Cooper was interviewed by Charlie Rose last week. Mr Cooper is a highly intelligent, articulate person, who movingly described the real John Merrick. He admitted that when his mentor, Robert DeNiro came to the performance, DeNiro told Cooper after the show that many of his lines were inaudible!

I also thought the staging of the play was too episodic and busy with movement; there were many short scenes, which prevented the development and sustaining of emotion. And despite Patricia Clarkson's marveling at her "What was I thinking?" moment when she partially "disrobed," as she put it -- "Tea and Sympathy" was written in the 1950s.

That was not an unforgettable moment in the history of drama for me -- though it probably was for her.

Maybe I caught the show on an off-night? It can happen. I'd like to hear other opinions and reactions.

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I saw this the other night and was disappointed. I found Bradley Cooper's English accent hard to understand at times, and many of his lines were unintelligible. I thought all of the performances were good, but not one was memorable, Patricia Clarkson's excellent interview with Charlie Rose notwithstanding. Bradley Cooper was interviewed by Charlie Rose last week. Mr Cooper is a highly intelligent, articulate person, who movingly described the real John Merrick. He admitted that when his mentor, Robert DeNiro came to the performance, DeNiro told Cooper after the show that many of his lines were inaudible!

I also thought the staging of the play was too episodic and busy with movement; there were many short scenes, which prevented the development and sustaining of emotion. And despite Patricia Clarkson's marveling at her "What was I thinking?" moment when she partially "disrobed," as she put it -- "Tea and Sympathy" was written in the 1950s.

That was not an unforgettable moment in the history of drama for me -- though it probably was for her.

Maybe I caught the show on an off-night? It can happen. I'd like to hear other opinions and reactions.

 

I'm probably going to get a lot of nasty comments for this but "The Elephant Man" is not a very good play and mainly because of the reason you cited: it's very episodic and just when you get interested in a scene, it's over and you're on to a new one. I saw it when it was first produced several times, including the original with Philip Anglim and subsequently with Mark Hamill and David Bowie. The performances were good but the play just doesn't do it for me.

 

As for Bradley Cooper in the title role, and Patricia Clarkson as Mrs. Kendall, I'm probably going to get slammed for this too but I consider them stunt casting. Clarkson is a wonderful actress and Cooper is good in films but they (especially him) are all wrong for this piece. I too saw the Charlie Rose interviews and listened to their explanations of what they do but none of it translated into their performances. Cooper is a big, handsome movie star with a new movie that's probably going to get him another Oscar nomination, and Clarkson has a project opening soon too. So, they go to Broadway for limited runs, garner a lot of publicity for their films, get an impressive credit for their already plump resumes, and sell tickets. But if Bradley Cooper can't be understood when he speaks onstage then get the fuck off the stage.

 

I always think about when Melanie Griffith and Christie Brinkley played Roxie in "Chicago" (at different times, of course). I had friends in the show at the time and they told me that neither woman could sing a note or dance a step. In Griffith's case, they dumbed down the choreography to the point that she barely moved and even then had trouble walking in tempo. Both apparently were very nice, considerate and fun ladies but the only reason they were in a show that is famous for its dancing was because they were famous for - whatever. Stunt casting at its finest and stupidest.

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