We sat through Gore Vidal's The Best Man on Friday and it was a bit of an arduous affair. Not only did the show seem very long - complete with two intermissions - but there were some serious issues with the play itself and a few of the performances.
Our biggest gripe with the show was with the writing. There was no one we were rooting for. The show lacked a hero! One contender was a fool and the other was a too! Either one could have won or lost, and we would have been apathetic either way.
It was nice to see, though, how relevant politically the show still is 50 plus years later.
Another one of the major flaws of this theatergoing experience for us is that John Larroquette, who played one of the two contenders, lacked the gravitas to pull off that role. We thoroughly enjoyed him when we saw him in How To Succeed, but in The Best Man Laroquette floundered. He "acted" well enough, but he failed to develop a fully fleshed character. It was him up there on that stage.
Cybill Shepard was like a ghost. Or beige. Take your pic.
And Elizabeth Ashley should use a head mic, as she did not amplify enough with just her voice.
John Stamos and Kristin Davis, on the other hand, were surprisingly good. And the definitely created characters they were portraying.
But the real revelation of this production is James Earl Jones, whose portrayal of the President was so nuanced and vibrant. He literally lit up the stage whenever he appeared. Too bad they killed the most likeable character in the show!