Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Talk Radio" Disappoints-Schreiber Shines

I managed to get tickets through work to see Liev Schreiber in "Talk Radio" on Broadway tonight, an old Eric Bogosian film from the 80s that was directed by Oliver Stone. Now, I never saw the original, and loving Liev Schreiber, I was pretty confident that this was going to be fantastic. It's a story about a radio shock jock talk show personality that is on the verge of going into national syndication, and is told that on this night to spice his show up a bit to impress the big bosses.

Let me preface what I say next by saying that Schreiber is and continues to be one of the best actors of this generation. I saw him in a production of Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" with Juliette Binoche a couple of years ago, he's been in many films (I got a kick out of him in "Daytrippers"), and most recently he did a stint on CSI. The guy gives 110%, and so did the rest of the cast. He was living/breathing (and chainsmoking) this character. The set was perfect. And on this night, a special treat-standing by us on our way into the theater, together, were Stockard Channing and Dana Delaney (Rizzo and the China Beach chick). They're tiny! We had great orchestra seats, too.

Anyway, the show's true detriment lies in that this character is supposed to thrive on provoking others when discussing current events. But mentions of George Bush as president, nuclear war, "Big Brother" or even the "punk" teen listener character that is brought onto his show pulled Ian and I right out of it. I felt Schreiber's character's impact could have been tenfold if they rewrote it with current events-God-there's such a cornucopia to choose from-the war in Iraq, 9/11 and post 9/11 climate, the internet, Katrina; that to keep 'true' to the original timeline of when this story was written seems false. I guess it was intentional, but it didnt'help here.

There were timeless issues touched upon-racism, how some people are media-loving whores but have no sense or care of current events, love, but not nearly enough. And this is where the show lost its magic for me. I had been so psyched to see it and it was such a highbrow crowd that for a second I thought there was something wrong with me that I wasn't blown away when it ended. Then the whole train ride home Ian and I were in total agreement about it.

Alas, we still had a great night out, even found a great N'awlins cuisine place on Ninth that didn't break the bank called Delta Grill.