Theatre reviewers on the Verge
It angers me a great deal to hear the rumors the that play “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is awful and will close sooner than its January 23rd final date. It makes me so, so, so mad! I have a confession. I am a gay man who really does not like musicals. They’re typically schlocky and overblown and full of false emotion. There is nothing real about them. They’re cartoons for grown-ups. Cheesy cartoons.
So of course I had low expectations to see this play, based on the frenetically energized 1988 film by Pedro Almodovar. I love that film and all it captures: the beauty, drama, color, and sorrow of Spanish women’s lives and dramas. But guess what? The play was wonderful! Marvelous! Magnifico!
The sets are modern and camp. The colors and prints and wigs captured the whimsy of Spanish design and art, seen anywhere from Picasso to Camper, perfectly. Detractors say it moves too fast. It needs to slow down. It’s too much too fast and too colorful.
I ask them, have they ever met a Spaniard?
At the height of this current 80s revival in all worlds creative, Broadway’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” which features Tony winners, an American Idol runner-up, and the diva Ms. Patti LuPone, is a rarity. It captures the outlandish visuals of the 1980s, the consumption of drugs too, and it channels them into something unique, not contrived.
Too bad the boring folks who review plays did not get it. The point is the fast pace. That’s Spain. That’s heartbreak. And that was the 1980s.