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The Unexpected Man

Posted on

The Unexpected Man

Current Status:
In Season
Yasmina Reza

We gave it a C+

How can a 75-minute play starring two actors as accomplished as Alan Bates and Eileen Atkins be a deadly bore? By not being about anything, other than the soaring pretensions of French playwright Yasmina Reza (Art). And what a shame, because after excessive opening bluster, Bates settles into a fine performance as a famous author alone in a train compartment with a woman he doesn’t know; Atkins, who recognizes her favorite writer yet doesn’t know how to make this known to him, excels from the outset. But whatever the actors of The Unexpected Man do with this potentially intriguing situation founders on Reza’s apparent belief that opacity is a sign of depth and verbosity a stand-in for complexity. Despite the actors’ efforts, their alternating interior monologues do more to shield the characters from the audience than to illuminate them. C+