EW's Special Coverage

Stage

Stage Review

A Word or Two (2014)

A WORD OR TWO Christopher Plummer
Image credit: Craig Schwartz
A WORD OR TWO Christopher Plummer
EW's GRADE
A

Details Opening Date: Jan 22, 2014; Lead Performance: Christopher Plummer; Writer: Christopher Plummer; Director: Des McAnuff

It would be nearly impossible to define a legendary career that has spanned over six decades in just a few words. But Christopher Plummer does that and more in A Word or Two, his one-man show exploring life through literature. The octogenarian Oscar and Tony winner's show, now playing at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre through Feb. 9, was first performed in the summer of 2012 at the Stratford Festival in his native Canada.

As an actor, Plummer is a master of written and spoken text. Arranging material from some of the best and most influential authors in his life, he is able to show his true passion and appreciation for them all. Characters and stories seamlessly come to life, from childhood tales of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland to the dark kingdoms created by his "bro Bill" Shakespeare. In the 80-minute, intermissionless piece, he forgoes stories from the set of The Sound of Music or his Tony-winning turn in Barrymore for more universal accounts of puberty, middle age, and death. He doesn't just talk about his childhood, but what it’s like to be a child and learn what a powerful tool the imagination can be.

Now 84, Plummer looks as nimble as he did when he played Hamlet back in 1957 and called himself the “cat’s meow.” He shows that he's till on top of things, joking that he could one day play Chris Christie or voicing his embarrassment over fellow countryman Justin Beiber. Under Des McAnuff's fluid direction, he also shows moments of pure elegance and ease. His commanding stage presence makes you want to watch. But in A Word or Two, he also makes you want to listen. A

(Tickets: CenterTheatreGroup.org or 213-972-4400)

Originally posted Jan 23, 2014