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The Blue Room Review 1998

David Hare's "freely adapted" translation of Schnitzler's "Reigen" (better known by the film version title "La Ronde"), is an interesting and entertaining 100 minutes or so examining the morality and motivations and the lack thereof that incite sexual  behaviour au fin de siecle.  We follow 10 couples from various walks of life through their daisy-chain of couplings - The Girl and the The Taxi Driver, The Taxi Driver and the Nanny, The Nanny and the Student, etc until we get back to The Girl.  Iain Glen and Nicole Kidman are utterly convincing in their multiple roles, and Sam Mendes' direction keeps the action rolling seamlessly.  We have no difficulty whatever in believing Kidman as a 17 year old model or a middle-aged Kathleen Turner-esque actor.  Ditto Glen's slimy Politician and unnaturally potent Playwright.  And yes, there is very little about their naked bodies that we do not now know.

But (you knew there was a but), although I was engaged and got good value for my $B!r(B15 ticket, I'm mystified by all the hoopla.  "Theatrical Viagra"? Not the night I saw it.  Kidman is gorgeous, as is Glen,  but would I pay $B!r(Bx00 to simply to see them get their kit off?  Not on your life.  It's an entertaining night at the theatre, and I'm glad I went.  But I won't bother to see it again if it transfers to NYC.  Ground-breaking theatre it's not. Tom Stoppard, Tony Kushner, and Peter Shaffer have nothing to worry about.

(Christine Lehmkuhl)

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