“A Walk in the Woods” more like a stroll in the park today

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NY Theater Review by Sandi Durell

 

Revivals written about serious world issues of the past are the most difficult plays to resurrect, even Lee Blessing’s 1988 revelations of the Cold War era, currently at the Clurman Theatre.

When two diplomatic arms negotiators are brought together to bring some degree of sanity to the world situation of who’s on first between the United States and Russia, it’s in the beauty of the Swiss landscape in Geneva. And it’s Kathleen Chalfant as the contradictory Russian charmer, Irina Botvinnick, who has a way with words and a smile and twinkle that could sway an army. Her American counterpart, Paul Niebanck as John Honeyman, is a humorless prig of a man, who doesn’t really understand her clever bantering technique until later in the play.

Chalfant is the reason to see this throwback piece which pales in comparison to present day world problems. She’s a handsome, elegant woman who is clearly one of the best actors in the business.

They negotiate, they un-negotiate and re-negotiate as bureaucrats do, taking one step forward and three steps back as political rhetoric is thrown here, there and everywhere. Director Jonathan Silverstein maneuvers the two fine actors through the 100 minutes (with intermission) in this Keen Company production that will still enchant.

*Photo: Carol Rosegg

“A Walk in the Woods” thru Oct. 18th, Clurman Theater, Theater Row, 410 West 42 St., 212 239-6200   www.keencompany.org

 

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