Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
The Blue Room
Signature Theatre's latest offering is the sexually charged David Hare play The Blue Room. Previously on Broadway, the show received a great amount of attention for featuring a nude Nicole Kidman. The Blue Room shines a light on a wide variety of individuals who are all connected by a series of sexual encounters. The play is inspired by the 1897 Arthur Schnitzler play Reigen, which was later known as La Ronde. It caused quite a scandal in its time and this modern take on the Schnitzler story is no less shocking.
The Blue Room opens with an encounter between a taxi driver and a prostitute. The taxi driver moves on to an au pair who later has a brief liaison with a young man in her household. The chain continues, highlighting people who come from various walks of life.
Hare has provided some fine dialogue and the piece is driven by the intense desires of its characters. These desires are represented well. However, it feels uneven because some characters are just more interesting than others. This is where the show falters. This piece is all about movement and director Wendy C. Goldberg does her best to keep it fluid.
The show's two-person cast features Deborah Hazlett and Rick Holmes. Both make a good effort and much of the time Mr. Holmes succeeds in capturing the essence of the many characters he plays. He manages to convey a boyish naiveté in one scene while displaying the maturity of a much older man in the next. Ms. Hazlett is often a good match for her co-star but shows some weaknesses when playing the younger characters.
Michael Brown's set has a circular design to match the story being told on stage. The set works well for the piece and Mr. Brown's lighting adds to the total picture. Additionally, Anne Kennedy's costumes help to shape the numerous characters.
Audiences should be advised that this play does feature nudity. However, the nudity doesn't add much to the play. The Blue Room has the potential to be an interesting character study. Instead, it is a shallow theatrical exercise. The Blue Room runs through July 11th.
The Signature Theatre