I feel like the only person in the world who has never seen Yentl, the movie with Barbara Streisand. Which made it all the more of a delightful surprise to see the brilliant production of Yentl at Theatre J on Saturday, complete with music, aptly by Jill Sobule who wrote the song 'I kissed a girl'. Yentl is the best show I've ever seen at Theatre J, and with the possible exception of Grounded (which is coming to Baltimore from 15th October), one of the best shows I've seen in DC this year. Yentl is about a Jewish girl in Israel who dreams of studying the Talmud, but can't because she's a girl - so she finds a solution. The story is absolutely gripping. The performances are subtle and complex and and spot-on. The set is cool. The staging is brilliant, with a sort of Greek chorus perfectly delivering the music. Theatre J's Yentl is excitingly good - highly recommended.
Belleville at Studio Theatre delivered the quality I've come to expect from the Studio Theatre... but somehow, it failed to inspire. Amy Herzog is of course an exciting playwright, and the script here is sharp - but somehow the topic just bored me. 'Whatever can you mean', I hear you cry: 'It's about relationships and love and human cruelty and whether you can ever really know someone - all worthy themes!' Perhaps... 'And the performances were pretty pitch perfect.' Sure. But you know, to me, it just wasn't that interesting. My eyes slid repeatedly to my watch as the cast stormed over the stage in high drama angst wielding knives, vomiting, hunting for drugs. Either you find someone's dysfunctional marriage interesting, or you don't. I left unconvinced that the play was about very much more.
But speaking of marriages, I really enjoyed Love is Strange, at the Landmark E Street Cinema. It's about two gay men in New York who get married after being together for 39 years - which brings their relationship to the attention of religious leaders responsible for one of their jobs. Newly unemployed, they end up having to live apart with friends and family til they can afford an apartment. It was just a bit too sad for my Sunday night taste - but this film was also funny and charming and had lots of nice things to say about love. And the performances were stellar. Though I found it hard not to see the High Commander from Third Rock from the Sun when I looked at John Lithgow...
Restaurant of the week was Teddy and the Bully Bar, the brother restaurant of my beloved Lincoln. I hadn't been for ages as their menu didn't have many things that tempted me on it. That has now changed. Check out their current menu - it was delicious. They do a mean Rickey too...
Finally, a special shout out to The Plains - having recently visited Harper's Ferry after many promises about how charming a village it is, I found The Plains trumped it in charm - a lovely day out. Especially if you're lucky enough to know someone with a farm with a swimming lake...
If you like this blog, could you possibly take 30 seconds to vote for it in Washington Post's 'Best of' - we've been shortlisted in DC area life as best neighborhood blog and while this is very cool, it would be even cooler to win!
But in the meantime... what sounds cool in DC this week?
Yentl is the go-to theatre show this week. But what else?
Tue 9th Sept - SpeakeasyDC have their monthly storytelling show. The theme this month: hazed.
Thu 11th Sept - It's the start of my very favorite DC film festival of the year, DC Shorts! Here's the schedule. It might be worth thinking about the all-access pass for $100... it includes the parties which are $20 each... or buy tickets individually, of course.
Fri 12th Sept - Second City is probably the most famous improv troupe in the country. They have an early and a late show at the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian. The early show is sold out... but the late show still has tickets! Get them now! If not, there's a DC Shorts party.
Sat 13th Sept - It's Story League's grand championship - the search for the funniest story on the East Coast. That's at Black Cat. Or try your chances at Chinese Menu Comedy, if you can stay awake for a 10pm free show (NB: I cannot). If not, there's another DC Shorts party. Or if you want to learn while you drink, check out Nerd Nite at DC9, which is about neuroscience...
Mon 14th Sept - It's a storytelling extravaganza this week! Check out SpeakeasyDC's Atonement-themed show at Theatre J. I'm looking forward to it.
Oh, and don't forget to buy Perfect Liars Club tickets for 1st October!