"I kinda look like a 200-year-old pole dancer now! I don't think that's gonna happen, but thank you anyway."
Sylvester Stallone's response when Sherri Shepherd asks if he'll wear his tank top and booty shorts in the "Cliffhanger" sequel. The first film came out in 1993. In 30 years, those shorts have disintegrated...like Sly himself.
Greetings from London. The second stop on my world trip was packed with theatre, and I'm going to start with the stage adaptation of Brokeback Mountain.
Full disclosureI'm not a fan of the film. What can I say? Long, lingering shots of vistas and sheep don't do it for me. This play goes back to the original short story by Annie Proulx and clocks in at 90 minutes. I like my plays like I like my menin and out.
In a cast that couldn't be bettered, Lucas Hedges plays Ennis and Mike Faist takes on Jackcertainly two of the most talented, dynamic and attractive actors today. Ennis is a man of few words, guarded, and unable to be honest...even with himself. Jack is more boisterous, expressive, and somewhat reckless. When Faist smiles, he lights up a room. He's so charismatic, he virtually eclipses everything around him.
That's not to say that Hedges doesn't hold his own. Given his character's demeanor, his outbursts allow him to show terrific range without veering into caricature. Both are accomplished and brave portrayals. Because I know you'll ask, there isn't any real nudity. You get to see both men's torsos and bums quite often. And at one point, Faist is lying on his back nude. He swings his legs in the air to get out of bed, and you got a glimpse of...well, you get the idea.
The play is presented as a memory piece, with the older Ennis onstage throughout. Nothing against actor Paul Hickey, but at times it felt like a lecherous older man was watching two hot young guys canoodling. I found it a bit voyeuristic and icky. Even with this caveat, I heartily recommend the thoroughly engaging show and look forward to seeing where it goes after Londonand who will play the roles. By the by, it's staged at @SohoPlace, which is not only a terrific venue, but the first new theatre in the West End in over 50 years!
When I saw the US premiere of Joe DiPietro's gay adaptation of La Ronde at West Hollywood's Celebration Theatre back in 2009, I remember being impressed by the witty writing. The Waterloo East Theatre asked DiPietro for an update, and he's again come up with a winner. F**king Men is playing to sold-out houses, and is as insightful and sharp as ever. It's clever, touching, funny, and provocative. There remain a few references from the previous version that seem dated (including a discussion about Ecstasy). But with this talented cast of four, the show's in good hands with nary a weak link, to say nothing of the slick production. It's allegedly closing on June 18, so grab your tickets quickly...if you can.
I looked forward to 2:22 A Ghost Story, which I'd heard good things about. A young couple buys and is modernizing an old house. Is it haunted? They spend the night with another couple trying to solve the mystery. The ending really surprised me, so that's a good thing. It's provocative enough to make you replay everything that transpired. In fact, I might go back to unravel it some more. Another solid cast. The most recent addition is Sophia Bushfrom One Tree Hill, but better known to my readers as a one-time Mrs. Chad Michael Murray. While not a natural theatrical animal, she turns in a very capable portrayal that will only get better with time.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a revival in London's West End. And it will be helmed by...Nicole Scherzinger. There's no doubt she can sing it. But can she act it? If people thought the Juilliard-trained Patti LuPone was too young at 44, I doubt that Nicole can pull it off at the exact same age! Then again, she was in that Cats filmand we all know how that turned out.
When does "never" not mean "never?" When it's Kim Cattrall returning to the role of Samantha (from Sex and the City). "Me playing her? That I can definitely assure you will never happen...for me, it's over," she told Piers Morgan in 2017. And yet...she's back. And not just sending text messages from England. On March 22nd, Cattrall showed up in New York City to film a scene in a car which was simply a phone callwithout any interaction with the "And Just Like That..." co-stars.
We hear HBO head honcho Casey Bloys orchestrated the détentewhich was news to both Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King. Aside from the hefty paycheck, Cattrall had one requestto be dressed by legendary costume designer Patricia Field, who also opted out of the "SATC" sequel. Sometimes you can go home againbut don't expect your family to still be living there!
When we'll never say never again, it's time to end another column. I'm currently in an undisclosed eastern European country. You know the typewhere you wake up with 3 guys named Lukas! Perhaps more details will pop up on www.BillyMasters.comthe site where things pop up quite regularly. If you have a question worthy of the Eastern Bloc, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before a dinner theatre announces a production of "Brokeback Mountain" starring Scott Baio and Willie Aames! Until next time, remember, one man's filth is another man's bible.