City Paper is not for tourists
City List mistakenly listed Studio Theatre’s Grey Gardens as closing on Dec. 21—wrong, wrong, wrong. The play runs until Jan. 4 at Studio Theatre. Here’s what Trey Graham had to say about it:
Based on the cult-favorite Maysles brothers documentary about two socialites (Jackie O’s relatives, even!) rotting away in a vermin-plagued, plumbing-challenged East Hampton manse, Grey Gardens is as rococo in its better stretches as it is sappily sentimental in its lesser, as conventional and predictable in its first half as it is challenging and adventurous in its second. The true-story tragedy of Act 2 is a haunting, moving thing. Act 1, which still feels like an overlong preface despite the creators’ efforts to lay some explanatory psychological groundwork there—marital discord! engagement-party scandal! drunk sissy pianists!—plays more like a standard-issue drawing-room farce shorn of the usual upbeat, unravel-the-misunderstandings curtain scene.
With those imbalances, and in a space the size of Studio’s 200-seat Metheny Theatre, an entire evening with Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (aka the quirky bohemian heiress Big Edie) and her permanently apron-strung namesake (the downright demented Little Edie) is a bit like a dinner à trois with, say, the merely operatic mid-career Norma Desmond and her full-on batshit twilight-years self: stimulating, and even a bit tragic, but perhaps a little too much for anyone but a real devotee.
Grey Gardens shows Thursdays–Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. $49–$69. Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. (800) 494-8497.