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Review of REAR WINDOW

REAR WINDOW (with Kevin Bacon)

Rear Window

McKinley Belcher III and Kevin Bacon

Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT

http://www.hartfordstage.org

through November 15, 2015

by Shera Cohen

You’ve seen the movie (Hitchcock, Stewart, binoculars, wheelchair) – a classic. Now see the play. Well, that really can’t happen because Hartford Stage has the casting and marketing genius to achieve a complete sell out.

The movie and play share the same title, not much else. Yes, there’s a murder, body parts, voyeurism, and snippets of lives of obscure people. We have our erstwhile hero. Jimmy’s everyman charm has been replaced by a reclusive alcoholic. Where is Grace Kelly or any swell-looking smart blonde to match strategies and banter cute witticism with Jimmy? Albeit, an attractive young African-American man fills that void, but for a completely different purpose that strains the story line. “Rear Window” should stand alone as near-perfect as it is or how it is remembered, without adding broad subtexts of racism, police brutality, power or lack thereof of the press, and homosexuality.

If only Hartford Stage’s play had a different title the audience would have different expectations. This “Rear Window” is essentially a compilation of the movie’s script and the life of its writer, Cornell Woolrich – a man with more than his share of demons. Since few know of Woolrich, the main character is a man who even fewer care about because the text does not give the audience enough to decipher about this man.

It is painful to write any derogatory words aimed at Kevin Bacon — T.H.E. movie star of the memorable “A Few Good Men” and “Apollo 13,” his award-winning “Taking Chance,” and the hysterically funny “Tremors.” Yes, “Tremors.” Bacon throws himself into the role of Hal Jeffries as much as any skilled actor can possibly do. As hurting as Hal is, he is superficial. Bacon needs dialogue to express his character that just isn’t there. It is only in some scenes with McKiley Belcher (a promising actor) as Sam, that the people onstage become…well…real people.

“Rear Window” is film noire set to stage, delivered loud and clear as the screeching rush of trains on railroad tracks and dingy neon marquee against dirty grey bricks create the period. The set is amazing (such an overused word), but no synonym suffices. As the play quickly moves from scene to scene, the staging becomes even more amazing if that can even be possible. The star of “Rear Window” is scenic designer Alexander Dodge, who can share the accolades with sound designer Jane Shaw and lighting designer York Kennedy.

Originally posted In The Spotlight

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stephanie & Wayne

About Stephanie & Wayne

Stephanie is a journalist, writer, editor, and has had several hundred articles published in various newspapers and magazines, many of which still are available online under “Stephanie Lyons Schultz”. She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and was a practicing psychotherapist. She currently is a professor of psychology at WCSU and NVCC in Connecticut. Wayne is an Emmy-Award winning writer, producer, and director. He has produced many programs and documentaries that have appeared on television, and have been distributed to schools, libraries, and home video. Wayne also is a practicing attorney with a Masters degree in Law from NYU. In addition, he is a professor of communications at WCSU. Together, this recently wed couple write, produce, and direct as many of their stage, screen, and TV projects as they can with a full house -- their combined brood of seven! Some of their work has been featured this summer and fall off off Broadway; other work currently is under option. They hope to continue to promote more of their projects in the coming months! Feel free to write whatever comments you like! We want your feedback!