The Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: Josh Lucas & Uma Thurman. Photo: Matthew Murphy

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THE PARISIAN WOMAN
Written by Beau Willimon
Inspired by Henri Becque’s La Parisienne
Directed by Pam MacKinnon
Through March 11, 2018
Hudson Theatre
141 West 44th Street
(855-801-5876), www.ParisianWomanBroadway.com

 

 

By David NouNou

Somewhere in heaven, the late novelists Jacqueline Susann and Jackie Collins are fuming and wondering if they can collect any royalties from Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman. Every ludicrous cliché they ever wrote in their novels (from blackmail to scandalous illicit affairs) is here. Whereas theirs was “pulp fiction,” no pun intended, and can be read over and over again as escapism, this is expensive babbling at high Broadway ticket prices and it will be dated within four years hopefully (if not earlier, if there is any justice in the political world of today).

Uma Thurman is gorgeous as the calculating Chloe. A woman who doesn’t do much these days but did fritter her youth away with love affairs, art and beauty in Paris. She now lives to further the career of her husband Tom, the equally gorgeous Josh Lucas. He is a tax lawyer that sees his time as now in the helter-skelter world called Washington, D.C. to be a nominee for chief justice. Chloe and Tom live in a luxury townhouse, no children, and are allowed to have affairs on the side as long as they don’t talk about it. An ideal situation in the imperfect Duchy of Washington.

The snake in this idyllic garden is Peter (Marton Csokas), a D.C. banker and supporter of the RNC and he has connections with an incoming president whose last name begins with a “T.” His character is more absurd and more ridiculous than anyone Ms. Susann or Ms. Collins could have ever concocted. He is hopelessly, madly and jealously in love with Chloe. He even divorced his wife for her. He is so enamored by Chloe that within the first 10 minutes of the play, she is manipulating him to put in a good word with “you know who” for the seat in the Justice Department. After all, this is only a 90-minute play, so the proceedings have to move quickly.

There is also Jeanette (Blair Brown), some bigwig who has just been appointed by “you know who” for I don’t know what and wants to befriend Chloe because of her spunk and refreshing forthrightness. Jeanette has a lovely daughter, Rebecca (Phillipa Soo), who has just graduated from Harvard Law School, wants to go into politics, jump through a few political hurdles first, and then has her eyes set for the ultimate prize, being president of the USA. Of course, to right all the wrong that is being done today by “you know who.”

All this folderol is directed with the usual leaden hand of Pam MacKinnon (remember earlier this spring, she helmed the dreadful dud Amelie?) Ms. MacKinnon also recently directed David  Mamet’s putrid China Doll and the awful 2015 revival of The Heidi Chronicles.

The one bright note in theatrical parlance is Blair Brown. She is a perfectionist and can make the most awful mundane lines seem plausible. Credit must also be given to Ms. Soo for adding some gravitas to her trite role. As for Ms. Thurman and Mr. Lucas, they have to settle for gorgeous.

 

 

 

Edited by Scott Harrah
Published December 6, 2017
Reviewed at December 5, 2017 press performance.

 

Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: Uma Thurman. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: Phillipa Soo & Uma Thurman. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: Uma Thurman & Marton Csonkas. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: Phillipa Soo. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: Josh Lucas. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: Blair Brown. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Parisian Woman

‘THE PARISIAN WOMAN’: (left to right) Uma Thurman, Blair Brown & Phillipa Soo. Photo: Matthew Murphy

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