Stage Review

Counting the Ways (2003)

EW's GRADE
A

Details Opening Date: Oct 09, 2003; Lead Performances: Brian Murray and Marian Seldes; Director: Lawrence Sacharow

You could almost hate the golden-great Marian Seldes and Brian Murray (who last teamed in 2001's ''Play About the Baby'') for being so beyond reproach. Is there nothing bad to say about them? That they can effortlessly articulate the mad patter of Samuel Beckett's weighty lingual hurricanes -- he in ''A Piece of Monologue,'' she in ''Footfalls'' and the spooky, like-nothing-else ''Not I'' -- while making the seemingly impenetrable diatribes so attractively penetrable inspires awe. That they then switch to Edward Albee's airy, self-unimportant domestic comedy ''Counting the Ways'' only compounds their appeal -- especially when, in a quirk typical of Albee, the actors stop acting to give topical, apparently extemporaneous, and downright delightful monologues. Even when they're not in character you love them.

Originally posted Oct 24, 2003 Published in issue #734 Oct 24, 2003 Order article reprints