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BLUEBIRD OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: August 22, 2011
NY DAILY NEWS
Synopsis: Jimmy MacNeill (Simon Russell Beale) is a London taxi driver who seems to draw personal stories and confessions from his passengers without even trying. Over the course of Simon Stephens' meticulously observed and deeply compassionate play, the truth of Jimmy's own life and secret burdens unfurls with each new "fare." In this acclaimed early play, the first of several he has since had produced at the Royal Court Theatre, Stephens illuminates big questions about how we transcend our own mistakes, and the value and cost of intimacy. He is an unparalleled observer of the small details that unlock joy and pain for the throngs of people anonymously going about their business in the big city.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"Finding your seat at the Atlantic Theater Company’s tiny Stage 2 isn’t easy. (Hint: the numbers are on the bottoms of the seats.) So when one man is still standing, hovering over the first row, just before the lights go down for the beginning of Simon Stephens’s “Bluebird,” which opened on Monday night, you’re inclined to make allowances. "
"If you have any doubt that Simon Russell Beale is one of the most sensitive and intense actors working on either side of the Atlantic, beg, borrow, or steal a ticket to the regrettably short run of Simon Stephens' "Bluebird" at the Atlantic Theater Company's Stage 2 basement theater. Neither physically imposing nor strikingly handsome, Beale comes across as just an average guy, yet just by sitting and listening, he conveys a lifetime of regrets and a world of sympathy for those characters who are pouring out their own sad stories."
"After trekking contentedly with British actor Simon Russell Beale through Tom Stoppard's "Jumpers," Shakespeare's "Winter's Tale" and Chekhov's "Cherry Orchard," I'll go anywhere he takes me.
In Simon Stephens' moody but cliché-cluttered drama, "Bluebird," that's all over London."
"Simon Russell Beale is among the greatest English actors working on stage, and now New Yorkers have another chance to watch him -- at close quarters, no less -- in the Simon Stephens' intermissionless drama Bluebird, now at Atlantic Stage 2, in which he delivers yet another must-see performance. "
"Miscasting can occasionally be a blessing in disguise. Take, for example, Bluebird, which the Atlantic Theater Company has just opened at its Stage 2 space. Simon Stephens’s play, which premiered in London in 1998, is most notably distinguished by how little happens in it. It follows a taxi driver named Jimmy over the course of his typical evening rounds, but takes an unusual turn only in its last minutes, when its story of despair, redemption, and the vicissitudes of youth finally (but barely) coalesces into a complete dramatic presentation. And it does so then primarily because of its out-of-his-element star, Simon Russell Beale. "
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