Daily Archives: November 12, 2017

Time And The Conways Review

Family, if nothing else, is f*cked up.  Just because we love each other and we have the same DNA does not mean that sometimes we can’t stand each other.

The revival of the J.B. Priestley play, Time And The Conways, is set in two different time periods, 1919 and 1937. Mrs. Conway (Elizabeth McGovern) is the widowed matriarch of an upper middle class family in Britain. She has six children: Alan (Gabriel Ebert), Hazel (Anna Camp),  Robin (Matthew James Thomas), Kay (Charlotte Parry), Carol (Anna Baryshnikov) and Madge (Brooke Bloom). The rest of the cast includes two family friends, Joan (Cara Ricketts), Gerald (Alfredo Narciso) and a friend of Gerald’s, Ernest (Steven Boyer).

A friend who saw the play a few weeks ago said that these characters need to be in therapy. I couldn’t agree more. Mrs. Conway is not a bad mother, but her parenting skills need some improvement. I’ll be frank, I saw the play because Downton Abbey is and will always be one of my favorite television shows. I was not going to pass up seeing Elizabeth McGovern live and in person. What I liked about the play is that the playwright not only plays with the grey areas of life, but also that family is not the picture of perfection that we, as an audience almost expect.

I recommend it.

Time And The Conways is at The American Airlines theater until November 26th, 2017. Check the second link above for showtimes and ticket prices. 

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, Downton Abbey, History, Life, Television

Murder On The Orient Express Movie Review

Agatha Christie is among the most beloved and respected of mystery writers.

This weekend, the newest adaptation of her book, Murder On The Orient Express hit theaters.

When Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) is found dead, it is up to Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) to figure out who the killer is. Is it Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad), Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) any other of the passengers on the train?

I have not read any of the Agatha Christie books, nor have I seen the previous adaptations, so this review is strictly based on this movie.  While the cast is clearly the best that Hollywood can offer and Kenneth Branagh is no slouch in the directing department, the movie is a bit slow around the second act. While the ending was a bit surprising, the film is not as exciting as the trailer made it out to be.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Murder On The Orient Express is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under Books, Movie Review, Movies

The Ladies Auxiliary Book Review

The best narratives are often the ones that are universal. Transcending the place, time and the characters, these stories speak to all of us, regardless of who we are, where are we are from and what we believe.

In 2009, writer Tova Mirvis published her first book, The Ladies Auxiliary. In a small corner of Memphis, Tennessee, a group of Orthodox Jewish families  have banded together to create a community within a community. Enter Batsheva, the widow of one of the sons of the community.  Arriving with her young daughter, Ayala, Batsheva is clearly an outsider in more ways than one.

The women in the community are hesitant to embrace her, but some do.  But even while she starts to integrate into the community, some of the women are still suspicious of her, especially when she maybe the catalyst for change in their growing children. Will Batsheva be accepted as one of their own or will she forever be an outsider?

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, there is a universal theme of acceptance and being open to someone or something new. The reader does not have to be Jewish or an Orthodox Jew (though it helps, especially when it comes the religious rituals and traditions) to understand the characters and the narrative. But at the same time, the writer jumps from several point of views and perhaps a bit dryly spends a little too much time explaining the religious rituals and traditions.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books