Playbill London Tour: The Iceman Cameth w/Kevin Spacey

News   Playbill London Tour: The Iceman Cameth w/Kevin Spacey Playbill On-Line is hosting a theatre tour to London's West End the week of June 28-July 5. Log in daily to read reviews of the shows, as seen by dedicated theatregoers like yourself!

Playbill On-Line is hosting a theatre tour to London's West End the week of June 28-July 5. Log in daily to read reviews of the shows, as seen by dedicated theatregoers like yourself!

After a day free for shopping (Harrod's, Selfridge's Bond Street, etc.) a sightseeing (St. Paul's Cathredral, boating on the Thames, out to Stonehenge, etc.) several members of the Playill London Theatre Tour did the Lambeth Walk to the 186-year-old Old Vic Theatre in Lambeth to see Almeida Theatre company's revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.

Kevin Spacey, as Hickey, leads the Old Vic ensemble in a full, uncut performance of the four-hour-20-minute script about Hickey's attempt to explode the pipe dreams that are keeping a bar full of his alcoholic friends chained to the bottle. The production is tentatively scheduled to go to Broadway in 1998-99.

Coincidentally, our visit came on the very day Old Vic Theatre -- where John Gielgud played Mark Antony, Laurence Olivier played Richard III, and Ellen Terry appeared in Hamlet -- was saved from demolition by a newly created $6 million (US) trust, which will buy the building from its current owners, the Mirvishes of Canada.

Here's how the Playbill On-Line critics-for-the-week reviewed The Iceman Cometh. Lenora Albury of Florida:
I thought it was terrific. I stood transfixed the entire second and third act. I didn't get tired. Performances were outstandingly good. I found myself looking at the other actors while he [Kevin Spacey] was going through his long monologues. My God, they must have heard this 100 times, but they still looked at him like they were hearing it for the first time.

Henriette Richman of Florida:
I was mesmerized more by thought of how human beings can do so many things to destroy themselves. The performances hold you. Outside of a sneeze or a cough, you could have heard a pin drop in there the whole time [four and a half hours]. He [Spacey] was terrific and so was Larry [Tim Pigott-Smith]. It's about the pipe dreams we've all got. We live with this all around us.

Jean Cerrone of Nevada:
It held my interest through the whole three acts. I was quite surprised when he [Hickey, played by Kevin Spacey] said he had killed his wife. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Helen Cyker of Florida:
I found the beginning very confusing. I couldn't get the connection until later. Overall I thought it was really good. Unfortunately his {Hickey's] idea [of exploding his friends' pipe dreams] didn't work.

Grace Kent of New Jersey:
I think it worked -- because they aren't going to say "do it tomorrow" anymore. At least some of them. Even that one [Jimmy Tomorrow, played by Ian Bartholomew] says he's faced up to the fact of why he was fired, and it wasn't because his wife was unfaithful to him. Harry Hope [James Hazeldine] faced up to the fact that his wife was a nag. Now they can get drunk, but now they don't have to worry about tomorrow. I also thought the bartender [Rocky Pioggi, played by Martin Marquez] did a really great job. I was more awake during this than during the light musicals. It held your interest because I wanted to hear what they were going to say next.

Tonight, guests are free to see whatever they like. They've chosen plays as diverse as The Unexpected Man," Rent, Miss Saigon, As You Like It, The Mousetrap, Black Comedy, Blood Brothers and many others. Tomorrow we'll be touring the Globe Theatre, a reconstruction of Shakespeare's "wooden o," close to its original site in Southwark. Log in Monday to read our reviews of our final show -- A Midsummer Night's Dream, as performed outdoors at Regents Park!

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