Hugh Jackman at the Stage Door November 1, 2014
Yes, I saw Hugh Jackman today. It was a good day, even though the weather was terrible.
The play Mr. Jackman is in, The River by Jez Butterworth, is a very complex, interesting play. A man who loves fishing is in his cabin. His companion catches a fish. He says he loves her. Yet, there are more than one of her. What to make of that? Hugh Jackman prepares a fish for cooking, opens bottles of wine, acts like a normal person, but is he? I loved the mystery of this play. Even at the end, you are still wondering.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jackman moves around the stage like an athlete. Sitting, standing, bending, sitting on the floor and getting up off the floor (not an easy thing for some of us!) are performed with grace. He handles a knife like a chef on the cooking channel.
Cush Jumbo and Laura Donnelly are wonderful as well. Mirroring each other, but with unmistakably different personalities, makes for really creepy, intriguing performances.
The River, at 85 minutes, is vastly different from The Crucible which I saw in London this summer and ran over 3:00 hours. Even a short play can be boring. Yet both plays were equally absorbing and intense. The set design of The River creates an intimate yet distant scene. You are present, but you are not a part of the actions. It reminded me of The Crucible, but unlike in The Crucible, where you felt like you were a participant in the horror, The River is more distant, but that’s not a bad thing! Not at all. I felt close to the characters, but also felt their distance from each other, which was the point.
I highly recommend going to see The River. The actors hold your attention through the full performance. I did not get distracted at any time. Except maybe when Mr. Jackman bent down to pick something up….