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Content by K. Alford
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Reviews Written by
K. Alford "WriterBearSF" (San Francisco, CA USA)

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Happy Days
Happy Days
by Samuel Beckett
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Classic, Schmlassic., Aug. 30 2002
This review is from: Happy Days (Paperback)
Even though I consider myself fairly versed in theatre, I have to say that "Happy Days" fails to resonate. Granted Beckett is out there, but he accomplished far greater things with the sublimely ridiculous "Waiting For Godot."
"Happy Days" seems to wander around like a freshman who doesn't know what class he/she wants. Looking for absurdist theatre? You're much better off with Ionesco's "Bald Soprano."

Running with Scissors: A Memoir
Running with Scissors: A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
Edition: Hardcover
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing. Compassionate. Moving., Aug. 30 2002
I don't recall reading another book where my jaw dropped for 200 pages. Equal parts shocking, horrifying and disturbing, the truly amazing thing is how Burroughs turns his tale into a story that makes you want to come back even when you're afraid to see what's around the next corner. He paints a compassionate picture of how the human spirit can survive most anything. It's an incredible work and one of the best of the memoir genre.

The Fourth Star: Dispatches from Inside Daniel Boulud's Celebrated New York Restaurant
The Fourth Star: Dispatches from Inside Daniel Boulud's Celebrated New York Restaurant
by Leslie Brenner
Edition: Hardcover
29 used & new from CDN$ 3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner, though heavy on the lingo, Aug. 29 2002
An exceptionally thorough account and a thoroughly engaging read about a man's passion and the challenges of leadership and loyalty at any price.
Though I fear the topic may chase non-foodies away, I'd recommend this to anyone who can understand how desire for perfection can drive a person's vision.
My only complaint? In an attempt to re-create the behind-the-scenes atmosphere, Brenner repeatedly quotes the orders placed during lunch and dinner service. At first, it's a great device to show the frenzy and the mad pace that's required. Eventually, I found it overwhelming and repetitive.
You should still read this book, however. Just feel free to skim when the foie gras and truffles start to fly.

Tom Stoppard: Plays 5
Tom Stoppard: Plays 5
by T Stoppard
Edition: Paperback
37 used & new from CDN$ 14.21

4.0 out of 5 stars A Master Playwright, Aug. 29 2002
This review is from: Tom Stoppard: Plays 5 (Paperback)
Every time I pick up this collection, I find myself sitting and reading for hours. Something about Stoppard's command of the language, his own personal calling card, is undeniably riveting.
And though there are times (especially in Day & Night) where it seems that characters are too clever for their own good, his sense of timing and his love for delivering a smart, believable group of people amazes me.
This collection is wonderful in its scope, including everything from the frequently produced "Hapgood" to the more recent treasure "Indian Ink." It's a must-have.

Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.54
125 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic, Aug. 29 2002
This review is from: Death of a Salesman (Paperback)
Visiting this play again for a class was about the last thing I wanted to do. But doing so is like visiting an old friend.
Forget the daring of showing a family man who's lost his importance. Take a look at the anger in Linda Loman at her sons. Read this again and consider the denial of everyone about their role in Willy's downfall. It's a major triumph.

Price: CDN$ 15.00
51 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Big Fun In Baltimore? You Betcha!, Aug. 29 2002
This review is from: Hairspray (Audio CD)
This is proof that the magic of musical theater can be created from the most improbable-sounding parts. Take a movie from John Waters, reigning king of bad taste film making, make it about the social injustice of racial segregation, make the heroine a plus-size hair hopper, then add her mother who's not only played in drag but is done so by an actor with a voice like a cat in a garbage disposal.
And what do you have? Sheer, unabashed fun.
This is a toe-tapping, funny, genuine piece of entertainment that's so sincere it doesn't have to be a guilty pleasure. You'll love it.

Musicality of Sondheim
Musicality of Sondheim
Price: CDN$ 18.39
16 used & new from CDN$ 5.93

3.0 out of 5 stars Honestly, Why Bother?, July 30 2002
This review is from: Musicality of Sondheim (Audio CD)
All in all, this is a pleasant enough compilation. There are no embarassing moments. The performers all acquit themselves nicely. But in the long run, there's really little to recommend this above the rest of the many tributes and reviews recorded of Sondheim's music. No new interpretations. No amazing performances. No inspired song choices. Nothing special here, folks.

by Tony Kushner
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious But Ultimately Over Reaching, July 8 2002
This review is from: Homebody/Kabul (Paperback)
Tony Kushner, who with "Angels in America" arguably gave us the two greatest works of American drama since "Death of a Salesman," continues his drive to create a grand theatrical voice with "Homebody/Kabul."
And though he falls far short in his attempt, it feels a little crass to fault him for it. This play should be appreciated for its ambition and for the unabashed joy Kushner shows for the intricacy and the density of the English language. His work is great to read even when it ultimately misses the mark.

by Suzan-Lori Parks
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.95
60 used & new from CDN$ 2.78

5.0 out of 5 stars A Brave, Original Work For The Stage, July 8 2002
This review is from: Topdog/Underdog (Paperback)
In a recent interview, Suzan-Lori Parks said she wrote plays when characters tugged on her sleeve and told her they wanted her to write for them. She went on to say that Topdog/Underdog, which had just been awarded the Pulitzer for drama, came to her as a "gift" in three days of work.
After reading this play, I must agree that it's a product of Divine inspiration. Topdog/Underdog gives voice to two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, as they posture and play and explore the dynamics of being the younger and the older, the experienced and the eager, the resigned and the motivated.
It's a stunning meditation on race and family and class ... made all the more stunning as it pours forth from two down-and-out, plain-spoken, African-American men, characters Parks herself has been criticized for writing about.
What these critics have failed to realize is that by giving voice to these marginalized, unsympathetic characters, she has tapped into the darker, less acceptable side in each of us.
It's a beautifully crafted work that deserves a far greater audience.

Price: CDN$ 15.64
27 used & new from CDN$ 10.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Buying For The Last Show Alone ..., April 11 2001
... even though I enjoyed the entire recording. The last piece, "Flight of The Lawnchair Man," is an exceptionally smart blend of whacky theatrics (a production number with Charles Lindbergh and a chorus of high-kicking airplanes, anyone?) and simple beauty (the recurring theme of following your dreams regardless of what others think). It's the brightest, most-inventive work for theater I've heard since Adam Guettel's "Myths & Hymns" song cycle several years ago.
Here is the future of American musical theater in one CD jewel case. The dark humor of "The Mice," where an exterminator and his girlfriend fill a Minnesota town with vermin in order to make room for their illicit affair. The bittersweet longing of "Lavendar Girl," where a girl's desire to be accepted lives long past her physical body. And "Lawnchair Man" with its goofy sense of humor and touching heart of gold.
It's one of those great times when the right material is brought to life by the right creative minds and put in the hands of the right cast of characters (many of whom do double and triple duty to show of their versatility). It's a must-have for musical theater lovers.

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