The Philadelphia Story
Link to a Victorian era “fan review” of the play and Mr. Spacey’s charisma
The Philadelphia Story by Fan
After spending a few days in London, here are some highlights of my experience at the Old Vic. It’s a little long so bear with me.
First of all, I always thought Kevin Spacey should do a comedy and my wish has come true. He was as funny as it could be, running around the stage like a mad man, falling down on the floor, waving his two feet up in the air or kicking things like a spoiled child, and so on. It was a physical comic performance. He did Walter Matthau and Jimmy Stewart in some scenes. He looked so handsome in his costumes, in great shape. With his energy and suave movements, if you sit beyond row G, you will believe his character was in his early 30s.
His first entrance onto the stage always caused some reactions in the audience. Once a lady near me almost went into seizure. His first scene is one of my favorites. Because his character was not welcomed in the room and he practically had to use all his charm and witty talking to force his presence to everyone and he had to do it fast. When Kevin Spacey is trying to be charming, he could be very effective. No more needs to be said…
Another of my favorite was when he proposed to Tracy. He had flowers in his hand, knelt down his left leg, like a perfect gentleman, then the other leg was down too. Now it looked a little ridiculous, then his whole body fell forward, face down, with his two feet waving in the air, like a spoiled puppet. He was such a clown! He brought the house down for a solid two minutes.
There was a long kiss in the final scene. In a typical movie, the girl would usually fight to get away first, then slowly melt down with her arms and legs and such. It happened at the Old Vic stage too, except it’s Kevin who was doing the girl’s part. I hope you can imagine how hilarious the scene looks like. Finally he managed to break away, breathless, unsteady on his two feet.
His character looked and acted very much like Jack Vincennes in LA Confidential, very smooth, cool, selfish and doesn’t give a damn about anything, except his ex-wife. You can sense his hurt and restlessness about his ex-wife’s upcoming wedding. However, after all his “conspiracies,” the reporter decided to propose to Tracy. You should see the look on Kevin’s face. It was so subtle, so deep and so funny all at the same time. There were a few lines he delivered with tears in his eyes and in a choked voice. The funny guy was, at one point, very hurt and had wounds unhealed.
There were little incidents on stage. Once he almost slipped off the steps and the audience all gasped. Then he decided to make it look intentional and played with the steps a little. Eventually he jumped off these steps like a six year old. We were all laughing with relief. Another time he was carrying a glass, half full, in a silver tray and it almost fell off. He added a line “I was never a waiter.”
I went to the stage door and got some pictures. And I asked him to personalize my program and he did. He is very nice and very polite. A young man passing by as was surprised to see Kevin Spacey giving autographs on the street. Kevin replied “Get used to it. I’ll be here forever.” I asked if he would do more plays after Richard II, he gave a quick and definite answer “Yes, I’m committed to do theater here for a decade.” Another lady asked if it would be just the Old Vic. Kevin says “There is not another theater for me.” On my last night, I didn’t have anything more for him to sign. So I waited until almost everyone got their autographs and went up to him, telling him “The play is wonderful. I’ll see you in Richard II.” He looked up straight into my eyes, with a most sincere smile, and said “Thank you so much for coming.” And he said “goodnight” to my German friend in German too. We feel our trip is all worthwhile.
August 3, 2005.
The Philadelphia Story by JennyR. UK
Well, what a day! As a birthday treat I was taken to a matinee performance of The Postman Always Rings Twice starring hunky Val Kilmer. Great acting in a very steamy play. Excellent cast. Amazing production. The sets were very impressive. They even managed to stage a car crash! A word of warning though, It’s a very violent and sexually explicit play, don’t go if you think you may be offended. But I digress, this isn’t Driving Mr. Kilmer. So we crossed over the river to The Old Vic to see Kevin in The Philadelphia Story. It’s almost too much for a woman. Why oh why didn’t my family move to LA and send me to Chatsworth High. Do they have bike sheds? It’s a very charming piece that happily plays in the time it was set. The class issues raised probably have more meaning in the UK than most places in the world, and I would think that Philadelphia has evolved socially since the 1930’s. There were a few gasps from some of us girls in the audience when some of the more chauvinistic views were aired! But then have you read some of Shakespeare’s stuff? Ok, well first on stage is Julia McKenzie as the matriarch, Margaret Lord. Julia’s a bit of a national treasure in Britain. (She’s the woman in one of the pics sitting on the stairs smiling at Kevin as he signs at the stage door). Wonderful performance. Jennifer Ehle does a great job too as Tracy. Ms Hepburn is a tough act to follow, but Jennifer is icy and funny. Special mentions for Talulah Riley as Dinah Lord, Damien Matthews who plays Sandy Lord and is the son of that lovely British actor, Francis Matthews. Saw them in The Pit bar later! Nicholas Le Provost as Uncle Willie and DW Moffet as Mike Connor. I particularly enjoyed Lauren Ward as Liz Imbrie the magazine photographer. She had very good comic timing. So what about Kevin? Well, he doesn’t make an appearance for a little while. Well ok, it seems to take ages before he steps through the doors from the garden and makes his entrance. A buzz goes around the theatre. Anyone for tennis? Actually he doesn’t say that, but you get the picture. As usual he looks nothing like the last time you saw him. He really is a chameleon. He has a great sense of comic timing and of course that voice! I didn’t notice any ad-libbing or breaking through of the fourth wall, but when the cast came back on for their curtain call, Kevin was applauding us enthusiastically! I took my bow. I turned to look at Steph my companion, this was her birthday treat from me, and she was crying! Ah. You can’t beat a happy ending. You get the feeling that Kevin is enjoying himself in this part. I think he was driven to do National Anthems and it took it’s toll. Witness the stage door pics. Maybe takes a bit of the character home with him? I got a tension headache watching National Anthems, and this was the play I told him I was looking forward to seeing the most, when I met him shortly after he had announced his first season! Enjoyed an after theatre drink in the bar, as did some of the cast. Alas, no Kevin. They shared a bit of our table but we left them in peace to enjoy their drinks. Well, we await Kevin’s Shakespearian debut in the UK. Richard II is a powerful piece and I’m sure he’ll do the part proud. Actually do you think there’s any chance of Kevin doing The Taming of the Shrew? I’d love to see him in that. But if you want to see Kevin deliver some lighthearted romance in a well cut suit, go see The Philadelphia Story. In this world we’re living in at the moment we need all the lighthearted romance we can get and I’ll take mine spacey style any time! JennyR. UK
August 19, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Itamar Broderson
Well, About two weeks ago my family and I went to London and I rememberd he has always played in the Old Vic and it would be great to watch oe of his playes so I got a front row ticet and I watched it and it was so very funnt and interesting that I can’t even tell. allthough his part isn’t that big and he is a supporting actor but every time he goes on stage he does great act. The way he controls his body, it’s just amazing. so if you’r in London go to The Philadelphia Story. August 22, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Isis
I’m very late posting this review, but it’s been a hectic week. I saw TPS for the second time on June 17 and what a difference! The first time was one of the previews, and it was enjoyable, but there had obviously been a lot more work done by the cast since then – on June 17 they were EXCELLENT! Needless to say KS was the best – he got huge laughs and applause from the audience and he played up to it. I was thrilled to have seats in the third row and we got plenty of grins and winks from our hero, especially in the third act. Maybe he was relieved knowing he only had one night to go before a break from TPS! Nicholas le Provost as Uncle Willy was hilarious – it’s a great part. But they were all great; DW Moffett was much more relaxed as Mike Connor and Talulah Riley is certainly one to watch. There were many teenagers seated around me and I had a great time listening to their comments during the intervals. They were all enjoying the play and agreed that KS is a great actor. If Kevin and the Old Vic continue to attract a younger audience then the future is bright. Now I have to wait for Richard II – got my tickets already, so roll on September!
June 25, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Martine
So, I went along on Saturday night (18th June) for Kevin’s last night, for now, in TPS. I saw the play 3 weeks ago and sat in the stalls but this time I was in the dress circle, my seat was supposed to be limited view but you know what? the view was just fine!! Having already seen the show was an advantage cos I knew when Kevin was about to make his entrance and being higher up I had a really good overview of the stage so I watched out for him and kinda enjoyed the show even more for it! The cast are generally very good but Mr. Spacey steals the show with his comic timing, and presence. That’s not my biased opinion, I overheard others saying similar things. The sets are gorgeous, two intervals for set changes are needed, and Kevin gets to use the whole stage one way or another thruout. Plenty of laughs and spontaneous applause on both my visits, Kevin ‘ad libbed’ a little on 18th which the audience seemed to love, me included! I waited at the stage door for Kevin along with about 40 others! we weren’t disappointed, he showed up after just 15 minutes and signed stuff. I was first in the ‘queue’, & after he signed my program he asked if he could borrow my pen! OMG!!! A minute later he handed it back to me saying ‘Here I don’t wanna steal this forever’. I almost fell over, and deliberately touched his hand as he gave it back!! Let me tell you I smiled ALL the way home that’s an hour journey. It’s great to have that memory to make me smile when I recall my first ‘up close’ with Kevin.
June 20, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Simone, Germany
Just back from London where I saw The Philadelphia Story twice yesterday (11th June 2005). Jennifer Ehle is brilliant as Tracy! I didn´t really like DW Moffett´s Mike. Talulah Riley was great as Dinah. And no question I enjoyed Kevin Spacey´s acting, too. Though I guess he´s working on making himself replaceable… After matinee I went to the stage door. Not sure what I expected. There you stand right in front of him and he´s got only eyes for the pen in your hands 😉 It was quite interesting to see the play for a second time the same day. While J. Ehle plays quite accurate, K. Spacey seems to have fun by doing little variations. June 12, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Barbara (Staffordshire)
I saw Kevin on the Wednesday 1st June matinee performance, playing to a full house. I knew already he only appeared four times in the play, having listened to a radio interview last Sunday, but to my delight his scenes were longer than I thought.
Jennifer Ehle was very good as Tracy Lord, and also I must mention Julia MacKenzie as her mother with impeccable comic timing.But of course, Kevin’s stage presence opened up the scenes and even when he was lounging or sitting when other characters spoke their lines, he was so watchable!
I went to the stage door (along with around twenty-five other fans) and after only a short wait he came to the door dressed in jeans, and oh yes, his trade mark flat cap! Signing posters, books and programmes, he was very gracious, and my friend grabbed my camera to take some snaps. Whilst he signed MY programmes I said ‘Have a wonderful time in Australia Kevin, and come back soon’ to which he replied ‘Oh, I will, I will’. What a treat to meet my all time favourite actor since the early 1990’s and what a bonus he now lives in Britain and I get chance to see him in person.
June 3, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by westwoodonebob
i was lucky enough to see the thursday may 7th performance of The Philadelphia Story and privledge to go backstage and talk with kevin foe a few minutes afterwards, the play is fun, a bit like the “screwball” movie, but Kevins role is smaller in the play than that of the film role of “Dexter” played by Cary Grant in the film version, i think this production is based more on the original play. anyway, Kevin was witty and charming, and engaging in every scene he’s in, lots of fun in the last act as he prepares to marry Tracy. anyway, the genesis for my meeting him is very strange, my neighbor in Hollywood is Mrs. Ed Wood, (yes THAT Ed Wood) and she is a HUGE Kevin fan. i took her to see him when he did the Bobby Darin live/big band show at the Wiltern Theatre in L.A. last December….but, i work in radio and we were doing an interview with Joel Stein who worked with Bobby Darin and was going to be working with Kevin on his stage show, i gave Mr. Stein a letter from Mrs. Wood, plus a very cool Ed t-shirt, anyway, after three months Kathy received a page and a half thank you note from Kevin written on The Old Vic stationary, needless to say she was over the moon, (she’s worried that he’ll stop making films and only work at “the dusty old theater” he reassured her that he would continue to make films but that he loved the theater and would be focusing a lot of his attention there. anyway when i knew i’d be attending this performance of TPS i emailed The Old Vic, explaining that i am a friend of Mrs. Wood and that Kevin had just sent her a nice letter and that if there were any way to meet him i’d be most grateful, word came back that i could meet him after the play, i did and he and i spoke for over 5 minutes, i gave him another letter from Mrs. Wood (of course she’s hoping for another reply but not expecting one) but i asked, and Kevin signed a photo from the courtroom scene in “Garden of Good & Evil” and addressed it to Kathy who’ll be celebrating her 83rd birthday friday the 27th,let it be said that he was very kind and generous with his time and consideration for Mrs. Wood, who by the way recieved the photo and was overjoyed with it. also i sent a note to the individual who set the meeting up and i let him know of Mrs. Woods graditude and he said he pass that on to “KS”.
The Philadelphia Story by Missy and Dj
We went to see The Philadelphia Story on 28-05-05.
*…Brain’s thrown a blank – still in awe from seeing the man himself* 😛
The entire cast were brilliant – very funny and witty. But all the performances seemed to step up a notch the moment Kevin stepped onto the stage. All the cast seemed to genuinely be having fun, bouncing off one another, especially Kevin and Jennifer Ehle. Shame they didn’t keep it as a musical a la High Society. We wanted to Kevin to burst into song Beyond The Sea style! 😉 Ah well, we can’t have everything…
However, the best was yet to come. Kevin was gracious enough to come to the Stage Door, despite there being at least 50 people waiting to see him. Bank holiday weekend… what can we say? And yes, there *was* a hat involved 😉
There was polite applause when Kevin opened the Stage Door (just as though this was some momentous achievement… well, it struck us as being quintessentially British :P) Then he signed everyone’s programs (or in Dj’s case, a Lex Luthor comic!) and let us take photos before going back into the theatre….
We went home in a daze! Having waited at Stage Door’s before for other stars (who we won’t name) we thought it was really good of him to take the time that he did with everyone. Just one word really… PHWOARRRRR! 😉
The Philadelphia Story by Susan
I went to the Old Vic last night (May 19th) to see The Philadelphia Story with Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Ehle ( Elizabeth Bennet in P&P). It was a fabulous evening. Luckily Jennifer Ehle decided not to *do* a Katherine Hepburn and so made the part of Tracy Lord her own. The supporting cast were great including Brit veteran Julia MacKenzie as Tracy’s mother and Nicholas Le Provost made a wonderful lecherous Uncle Willy. The only disappointment for me was DW Moffett as Mike Connor the journalist played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie. Jimmy Stewart he was not and I had to struggle sometimes to catch what he was saying. There is a fine line between the wonderful fast wise-cracking talk of the old movies and a tendency to gabble. Kevin Spacey came on at the end of the first act as CK Dexter Haven and as my friend with me said immediately the whole thing went up a gear. Alan Rickman will always be Numero Uno for me but Mr.Spacey has definitely won the coveted First Reserve strip. He shares with Alan that ability to hold the audience’s attention at all time no matter where the rest of the action is on stage. By that I don’t mean they are scene stealing but that they are constantly reacting to whatever everybody else is saying and doing. It’s not so much a sex appeal thing as just having enormous charisma. There was absolutely no doubt that the audience were there for Spacey and were quite prepared to be carried along and eat out of his hand. A great evening out.
May 20, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Anna
I also saw Philadelphia Story on the evening of Saturday, May 14th. The performance was wonderful, and Kevin was definitely the highlight of the evening. I had my binoculars with me (in row M of the stalls), and thoroughly enjoyed staying focused on his face most of the time. This was true especially in the last scene between George and Tracy, when Kevin lounges on the couch and reacts splendidly to everything. The rest of the cast were good too, although I really didn’t like D.W. Moffett as Mike.
At the stage door, I had brought my diary, figuring it was something he could sign that I wouldn’t ever feel silly about keeping. He came down, accompanied by two pretty cool looking young people, a man and a woman, (probably my age– mid-20s), who waited for him while signed and then followed him upstairs. He was very business-like and efficient. The crowd surged forward when he opened the door, and he just started grabbing pens and programs and signing, saying, “Thank you very much” in a monotone as he handed them back. He had been so animated during the play, it was quite a contrast– although having also had a matinee that day, I can easily imagine he was tired. (Poor guy!)
He did look fantastic up close (his toupee during the show had looked very fake through strong binoculars)– wearing the kangaroo cap (which I quite liked) backwards. None in the crowd were really saying anything–all were grinning maniacally, and I had sworn to myself that I would remain calm. So I forced myself to say, “Kevin, you were wonderful in the show. I really enjoyed it. You’re great. Thank you.” (It all probably came out very rushed and silly sounding) and he simply responded with the same “thank you very much”.
I was very satisfied even with this brief and perfunctory interaction. He had loads of that wonderful charisma on the stage, and I savored every minute of it. It was also a joy to see how well he seems to be taking care of himself, as he looked so great up close at the stage door.
The Philadelphia Story by Ann – London
I saw The Philadelphia Story on Saturday night – May 14th. It was very enjoyable, funny and well presented by everyone in the cast. Kevin was his usual self – awesome, cute, sexy, you name it he’s got it. Everything about his performances in the theatre or movies are without a doubt portrayed with perfection. He surely is one of the most talented actors of all time. If there’s a lady to eventually wins Kevin’s heart, she will be a very lucky one ! Here’s looking forward to seeing the multi-talented man in Richard II.
May 16, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Kim (Stoke-on-Trent, England)
The moment had arrived finally, last night. The night I had been waiting for, for two years. My son and myself were going to see Kevin, in real life, in person, there, in the flesh!!! I had saved up all my pennies, and feeling quite nervous, (being a country mouse), made my way to the ‘big smoke’, to see THE Kevin Spacey. The play was very good, amusing, and at times (when Kevin was on stage), strangely dark. I must admit to being slightly impatient during the first act, as I was so excited about seeing Kevin, and it seemed like forever before he appeared. And, then he came on……..there was indeed an audible gasp as he strode onto the stage. The sheer magnetism of him shining towards his adoring fans. After the break, and a much needed drink(!), my son and I took our seats, and continued to be spellbound by the sheer effortlessness of Kevin’s acting ability. I do not wish to detract from the other fine actors’ abilities, as they were very good. In fact, I felt that Jennifer Ehle, was enchanting as Tracy Lord, and Nicholas Le Prevost was wonderfully ecentric as Uncle Willy. However, Kevin really did steal the show. Immediately after the close, my son and I went to the stage door. We had no idea how long we would have to wait….it was actually only about 15 minutes, and then, there he was. Yes, he was indeed a vision in cream. New hat, cream jumper and trousers. He is looking mighty fine, and in very good shape. I got his autograph, which I will treasure, and my son (who is 21), could not actually speak, he was so starstruck!! On the way home today, (8 May), we caught a bus to Euston station, and the most amazing thing happened. Gazing through the bus window as we passed the Old Vic, we saw a strangely familiar person walking a dog. Yes, it was the man himself!! Same hat, dark glasses, a tee-shirt and jeans. We could not believe it!! Anyway, I had better end now, as I have gone on far too long. All I can say is, Mr. Spacey, you are amazing. We look forward to seeing you in Richard II in September. May 8, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Isis
I saw TPS last night -May 7. Two weeks after National Anthems KS is clean-shaven & wearing a hairpiece on stage. I can also confirm he has a new stage-door hat!! He came to the stage-door dressed in cream from head to toe – cream cap worn backwards, cream sweater & cream trousers. He looked gorgeous & I’m guessing the clothes were Italian – couldn’t see labels but they looked VERY expensive. Right, now that we’ve got his wardrobe out of the way, back to the play! It has a large cast & is in three acts. Kevin doesn’t appear until just before the first interval & I admit to getting a little impatient. He was well worth the wait! It is very much an ensemble piece, but K’s character dominates whenever he is on stage. You can’t not watch him – even when he’s sitting at the side, saying nothing you still watch him. DW Moffett is very good as Mike Connor & Jennifer Ehle & Julia Mackenzie are very watchable – Julia has great comic timing. I’ll see TPS again on June 16 & it’ll be interesting to see if there are any changes – I wonder will Kevin still include his Groucho Marx impersonation?! May 8, 2005
The Philadelphia Story by Birthday Girl
It was the first night for ‘The Philadelphia Story’ and it showed! There were fluffed lines, uncooperative props and a door that just wouldn’t stay shut. I love the film and sometimes it’s difficult to forget the one in order to enjoy the other. Tracy Lord was played with curious inertia by Jennifer Ehle – although when she chose to move it seemed to release some much needed energy onto the stage. Nicholas Le Prevost as wicked Uncle Willie was quite marvellous, completely at home as was Julia McKenzie and the charming actress who played Tracy’s tomboy of a kid sister. But much rested on the padded shoulders of Miss Ehle and she seemed tense. The presence of Kevin Spacey on the stage in a role he could do in his sleep was enchanting and I wish we could have seen more of him. The scenes between him and Tracy were some of the better ones. In spite of knowing the film version quite well (so I thought) I found aspects of the plot rather laboured, but a responsive and appreciative audience forgave all in enthusiastic applause.
May 5, 2005
The Philadelphia Story By Nicky
I saw this production last night and it was FANTASTIC! There was an audible gasp from the audience as Spacey made his appearance which, I think, can be attributed to the perfect timing of his character’s introduction to the particular scene and of his amazing stage presence. I wouldn’t be so dismissive of the other quality actors to say that he stole the show, but I certainly did find myself following him around the stage far more than anyone else. I guess I was star struck!
The scenery, costumes and lighting were all flawless; the script was tight and expertly delivered.
I’d never thought of Spacey as a comic actor but his timing and physical expressions suited ‘Dexter’ perfectly. I’d certainly recommend this production to anybody and, dare I say it, would be worth a look even without Kevin Spacey!
May 5, 2005