The Unbearable Banishment: It's obscure for a good reason

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's obscure for a good reason

The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore is the clunky-titled Tennessee Williams obscurity that's in previews at the Roundabout. I think the Roundabout was looking to strike gold twice with old Tennessee. Last year, they mounted a landmark production of The Glass Menagerie with Judith Ivey that was, as far as I'm concerned, as good a night of theater as you can ever hope to get. Blue roses!~~~

Milk Train premiered in 1962 to generally poor reviews, which is probably why you don't hear it mentioned in the same breath as Glass Menagerie, Streetcar and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A Broadway revival in 1964 starring Tallulah Bankhead and Tab Hunter (!?!?!?!) also tanked.

I admire the Roundabout's spirit and sense of daring but, I'm sorry, this train is off the tracks. (Ha. I said it first. I guarantee that some legitimate critic will steal that from me.)

I went with CB who liked it a lot, especially the first act. It's all so subjective! We saw the exact same performance and the things that didn't work for me (dialogue, some of the cast, the ludicrous plot) weren't a problem for CB at all! CB has a masters degree from Columbia and has written full-blown plays, so it's probably safer if you take his word for it. Don't listen to me. I like Rush.

Olympia Dukakis plays Flora Goforth, the fatally ill, supremely wealthy matron who's just looking for love, love, love, baby, in between morphine injections. All the Tennessee Williams women have the same desperate nature. She does a fine job but I don't think the script does her any favors. Her hysterical geisha dance is almost worth the cost of the ticket alone.

Flora's secretary, Francis "Blackie" Black (rolls his eyes), is her eventual rival for the hot young stud who climbs up the side of a mountain to meet them. (But not before being attacked and bloodied by the security dogs. Not kidding.) The actress playing Blackie seemed uncomfortable in the her character's shoes.

Isn't that a great poster, though?

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11 Comments:

OpenID daisyfae said...

"matron who's just looking for love, love, love, baby, in between morphine injections"

you say that like it's a bad thing?

January 20, 2011 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Jayne said...

That is a fantastic poster. I love Olympia Dukakis - she alone would draw me in no matter what kind of reviews.

January 20, 2011 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

that is a very cool poster, sugar. i do love olympia dukakis and if i had the chance would probably see this play for that reason alone. (i swear, i've been in the south too long, darlin!)(i am astounded by my own provincialism.) xoxoxox

January 20, 2011 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Does anyone else see the resemblance to Fiona from 'Shrek' in that poster???

January 20, 2011 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

Yes the poster is great and recognisably Dukakis.
I think Street car is my favourite of Tennessee's plays. I never got to play Blanche but I used to believe I was her.

January 21, 2011 at 4:53 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

Maybe the obscurity angle is aimed at pulling in the hipster dollar.

January 21, 2011 at 6:07 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: To each is own, I suppose, but I'd leave out the injections.

Jayne: Dukakis is a B-list movie actor but they make a big fuss down here when she does a play.

Sav: Her performance is quite, quite good and might be enough of a reason to see it. That and her dance.

Ponita: I didn't, but I do now!

Pat: The poster makes it look like she's had a bit of botox, don't you think? And, honey, you ARE Blanch.

kykn: That's called reverse psychology. I use it on my 4-year old all the time.

January 21, 2011 at 6:24 AM  
OpenID moreidlethoughts said...

Terrific poster!
I've played Stella (Streetcar)and I'm sure Dukakis would be great as any of Williams' flakey old ladies!

January 21, 2011 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Eryl said...

The poster alone would get me into the theatre, if I was there. I don't know who Olimpia Dukakis is, I'll have to google her.

January 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

MIT: No kidding?! I didn't know you acted! Are you going to take in a show while you're here?

Eryl: You might have seen her in the background of some movies. I like the new pic very much, by the way.

January 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Yes, the poster is great. Personally I don't place any importance in anyone's review.

January 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM  

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