Amy's View

Theatre Review by Fergus McGillicuddy

New York - April 15, 1999


Amy's View Amy's View, David Hare's play opening tonight at the Barrymore Theatre, could easily, but for the presence of Judi Dench, be taken for nothing more than a bit of witty and stylish fluff, a soap opera, a fictional theatrical biography of the pitiful last 16 years in the life of a fading actress. Fortunately director Richard Eyre is blessed with what may be the most intelligent and capable cast of the season in Dench, Samantha Bond, Tate Donovan, Ronald Pickup, Anne Pitoniak, and Maduka Steady. In less talented and capable hands Amy's View would be awful. As it is, Eyre and company have brought to the stage a bitterly funny, highly emotional, enthralling play.

Amy's View is all about the theatre, of course; what it is today and what it can and should be. It's also about cultural change - all for the worse - and the rapidly accelerating decline of civilization. It's about what it means being a mother, the almost insurmountable difficulties of being a good daughter, and the tension that frequently masquerades as both love and hate. It's about loss, grief, coming to terms with death, and the easily confused definitions of success and failure.

Judi Dench is glorious. If you were afraid she, indeed no human being at all, could possibly live up to the buzz and word of mouth you've been hearing about her performance, fear not. She's twice as good and then some. In a role fraught with pitfalls for a less than courageous actress, where any single moment played for sympathy could destroy the integrity of both her character and the entire play, she triumphs in a blaze of anger, cruelty, selfishness, wounding humor, and general bloody-mindedness. In a season surprisingly full of not to be missed performances, hers is right at the top of the list.

Amy's View by David Hare. Directed by Richard Eyre. Production design by Bob Crowley. Lighting design by Mark Henderson. Music by Richard Hartley. Starring Judi Dench, with Samatha Bond, Tate Donovan, Ronald Pickup, Anne Pitoniak, and Maduka Steady

Running time: 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Theatre: Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th Street, New York, NY 10036 (between Broadway & 8th Avenue)

Schedule: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 P.M., Wednesday and Saturday at 2 P.M., Sunday at 3 P.M. (No Wednesday matinee on April 28, May 12 and 26, June 9 and 23. No Sunday matinee on July 4.)

Audience: May be inappropriate for children 14 and under. Children under 4 are not permitted in the theatre.

Tickets: $35 - $65

Tickets in person: Box Office hours Monday through Saturday 10 A.M. to 8 P.M., Sunday Noon to 6 P.M.

Tickets by phone: Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200, or outside the New York metro area (800) 545-2559, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tickets on-line: https://www.telecharge.com/

Tickets by e-mail: tickets@telecharge.com

Tickets by snail mail: Amy's View, PO Box 998, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0998.