Review: The Little Foxes

I have this really bad habit of going to see shows for the last… I don’t know, two years and not having any idea what they’re about. This leads to some anxiety, but usually it just leads to low (or no) expectations. If I have no idea what it’s about, I have no idea whether it will be good or not. I went to see The Little Foxes this week because of it’s two stars: Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney. Because they’re fucking amazing on their own, so together onstage? Sign me up. Manhattan Theatre Club is producing this in rep (sorta) where Nixon and Linney are trading off roles every other performance. When I saw it, Nixon was playing Birdie (the shier of the two sisters-in-law) and Linney was playing Regina (the.. not-shy sister-in-law).

The Little Foxes is a play about southern life, wanting to keep the family money within the family, and trying to make a good investment by any means necessary. There are three siblings Regina (Linney), Oscar (Darren Goldstein), and Ben (Michael McKean) whom want to go into a business deal together with the family money. But Oscar and Ben (Birdie’s husband) need Regina’s husband’s, Horace (the lovely Richard Thomas), permission to use her money (hello, 1900) and he’s been away at a far away hospital recovering from what I presumed was TB. When he returns and refuses to go into the deal, the brothers and Oscar’s son, Leo, take matters into their own hands.

Written out, it sounds terribly complicated, but it’s much more clear onstage. I think The Little Foxes might be (wrongly?) perpetuating the joke that southerners marry their cousins, but that’s exactly what two of the brothers try to facilitate at one point. They decide that Leo, Oscar’s son, will marry Alexandra, Horace’s daughter. The sane thinking characters in the play object wholeheartedly.

This is a play about family and revenge in three acts, but they’re three quick acts. Special shout out to Caroline Stefanie Clay and Charles Turner who are featured as the servants, coming in and out to bookend the scenes.

Going into this, I had zero intention of seeing both casts, but now I definitely want to see Cynthia Nixon play Regina. It’s really hard to imagine her in the role that Linney played but she’s an amazing actress, so she’s definitely capable. Same with Linney in the role of Birdie.

Needless to say, it’s definitely worth seeing at least one of these casts.

I saw Roundabout’s production of The Real Thing, by Tom Stoppard, this afternoon. I had no idea what it was about going into it and after leaving it, I’m pretty sure I still had no idea what it was about.

Cynthia Nixon, Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Josh Hamilton play two couples that get all messy and intertwined. (I think.) It’s also a play where the first act is shorter than the second act. (And when you’re bored to tears in the first act, that’s not a good thing.) The second act was a BIT more engaging though, but I still left a bit confused and really sleepy.

The performances were great, some really emotional highs were pulled off stunningly by McGregor. After the show Gyllenhaal, McGregor, and Nixon all stood in the lobby of the theatre collecting money for BC/EFA. I thought that was pretty cool. Usually the stars are rushed backstage but they were awesome enough to give their time afterward.

I would recommend this show only to say you’ve seen these amazing actors onstage, not for the play itself, but maybe you’re more of a Stoppard fan than I am!