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Art Leonard Observations

“Bluebird” at Atlantic Theater Company

Posted on: August 21st, 2011 by Art Leonard No Comments

I saw "Bluebird" last night.  This play by Simon Stephens was first produced by English Stage Company in London in 1998, but it didn't seem dated to me.  The staging is simple: a few chairs on a raised platform on a bar stage.  The only other fixed props are two telephone booths (open) mounted stage rear and off to one side. 

The premise is that a cab driver, Jimmy, played with stunning realism by Simon Russell Beale, cruises about London picking up fares, with whom he usually has interesting interactions – mainly conversational.  The play lasts about 100 minutes and is done without an intermission.  Most of the interactions are quite interesting.  A little bit at a time the cabbie's own story trickles out, until the final confrontation (I'm avoiding plot spoilers here) turns entirely revelatory, moving, and quite absorbing.   I thought the tension sagged just a bit about 2/3 of the way in, but then picked up again quite nicely. 

The cast is terrific, and there are some good laughs, but this is definitely not a comedy – actually turns into heavy, emotional drama, ultimately quite absorbing.  And definitely worth seeing.

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