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ORPHANS BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: April 18, 2013
Synopsis: In the play, two orphaned brothers are living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house. Treat, the eldest, played by Shia LaBeouf, supports his damaged younger sibling by petty thievery, and makes the house a virtual prison for the seemingly simple-minded Phillip. One night he kidnaps a rich older man, Harold (Alec Baldwin), who turns out to have his own motives and becomes the father figure the boys have always yearned fo
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"A deceptive blast of primal energy begins the limp revival of Lyle Kessler’s “Orphans,” which opened on Thursday night at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater. The chemistry of this introductory salvo comes from crude but effective elements: an overamplified run of screaming notes from an electric guitar; a ravaged, abandoned-looking room shrouded in sinister lighting."
"Lyle Kessler’s play “The Orphans” is apparently the kind of thing movie stars fight to be in. But it’s not always clear why we have to fight to get a ticket.
It’s a testosterone-laden darkly humorous piece that offers three great parts — a mentally challenged young man, a bubbling eruption of male anger and a cool-as-ice older dude — but generates little light. This is a play more fun to act in than watch."
"When I saw the original Off-Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s “Orphans” back in 1985, I found the play to be a tiresome mix of pilfered Pinter and stolen Shepard, notable solely for Steppenwolf Theatre’s visceral acting style, exemplified in the flashy performances of Kevin Anderson, Terry Kinney, and John Mahoney. Nearly 30 years later the play is getting its Broadway debut, but time hasn’t altered my assessment. “Orphans” remains as synthetic as ever, only now Tom Sturridge, Ben Foster, and Alec Baldwin do the bravura thesping."
"Shia who? Just weeks ago the noisy departure of Shia LaBeouf during rehearsals – followed by his circulation of email exchanges with fellow cast member Alec Baldwin and director Daniel Sullivan – threatened to overshadow the arrival of Orphans on Broadway. But this dynamite production of Lyle Kessler’s play needs no assist from offstage friction to galvanize attention. Packaged as a post-30 Rock return to the stage for Baldwin, this is a scorching display of ensemble acting in which the star is evenly matched by riveting performances from Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge, making the descent from black comedy into tragedy a bracing theatrical thrill ride."
"Few actors can make ridiculous things sound as true as Alec Baldwin can. Or true enough. With his excellent ear and oddball air of earnest insincerity, he managed to wrap his mouth around seven years of 30 Rock bizarrerie as if it were Wilde. He’s a dab hand, too, at Orton farce and thirties screwball: He knows when to bunt and when to swing for the fences. Now, in Lyle Kessler’s Orphans, he is giving such a good old-timey performance—commanding and sentimental, precise but unfussy—that you may find yourself imagining him in a remake of Life with Father. Or Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Or, really, anything better than Orphans."
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