Straight Line Crazy: A Loud Affair Where Comedy Falls Flat
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The hotly-anticipated Straight Line Crazy really does go up to 11 — albeit only in volume.
Ralph Fiennes plays Robert Moses, New York’s revolutionary town planner who, in 1926, has yet to find a problem he can’t shout into submission. He’s aided and supported by a superb Danny Webb as the Governor Al Smith, a man who uses swearing as punctuation and who only stops talking to drag on a cigar.
Moses is mainly a one-note role, a bulldozer who runs roughshod over anyone who disagrees or gets in his way, especially his subordinates including Ariel Porter (the criminally underused Samuel Barnett) and Finnuala Connell (Siobhán Cullen who easily matches — and occasionally outperforms — Fiennes in the acting stakes).
Directed by Nicholas Hytner, this new play by David Hare is a loud affair where the attempts at comedy are often flatter than Moses’ expressways, the exposition is a tad clunky and the subject more than a tad prosaic. The intricacies of city planning systems have never excited much attention in playwrights and now we can see why.
Last Updated 25 March 2022