The Real Thing, by Tom Stoppard

Writers Theatre’s first show of the season was The Real Thing, by Tom Stoppard.  Michael Halberstam directed and Sean Fortunato was the lead.  Natasha Lowe played his first wife, which messed me up a bit because I haven’t shaken her performance in Streetcar from my head yet.

The first thing I noted – tweeted, actually – was the music playing before the show.  (Intermezzo plays at intermission..what the heck is the term for the music that plays before the show?)  Anyway, it was ABBA.  Seriously.
But it had a point.  Fortunato plays a highbrow playwright and the action is the collapse of his first marriage and the subsequent marriage to his mistress.  Music is one of the themes used to compare and contrast artistic taste, talent and temperament.  
The playwright likes pop music.
Another thing that happened was that I spent the entire first act trying to identify the accent of one of the characters.  Fortunato does voices and accents really well and he was all seamless going from his English character to his English character doing a woman to his English character doing a Scot.  But I couldn’t get a handle on the other one.  Then, at intermission, the guy in front of me said that Writers had better get a new voice coach because that one was slipping in and out of an accent the entire time.
Huh.  So that wasn’t on purpose?  Well, if I even noticed, then it was a problem.
In any event, I very much dig Stoppard.  I enjoyed the art imitating life imitating art.  Except for that accent issue, I appreciated the acting.  
Pretty strong kick off, I’d say.

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