Spiner's 'Life (x) 3' Earns Praise For Actor

By Michelle
April 4, 2003 - 8:57 PM

Life (x) 3, a comedy by Yasmina Reza that features Brent Spiner (Data) as a pompous, sexist physicist, opened to generally positive reviews on Broadway this week.

Spiner plays Hubert, who with his wife Inez shows up one night early at the home of a subordinate for a dinner party. The two couples socialize and argue with one another over the course of an evening that is replayed three times -- first as slapstick, then as farce, and finally as drama. The play also stars Helen Hunt, John Turturro and Linda Emond.

Here is what reviewers had to say about Life (x) 3:

  • Ben Brantley of The New York Times found some of the roles "damagingly miscast". He complained that Hunt and Turturro were "unable to handle the transitions the play demands...while both have done beautifully shaded work on screen, there is little variety in their performances here". However, Brantley called Spiner's performance "resolutely hearty", the only praise he had for any of the actors in the comedy.

  • Elysa Gardner of USA Today had more positive things to say about the production as a whole and said that Spiner played Hubert "with elegant smugness". She noted that although Hunt played the most appealing member of the ensemble, this "should not reflect badly on her colleagues", for they "generally do an artful job".

  • Brendan Lemon of the Financial Times claimed that the cast saved Life (x) 3, noting that the play "curdles into Gallic philosophizing" but praising the actors, particularly Emond.

  • Newsday's Linda Winer called playwright Reza "a theatrical phenomenon" and raved about the "terrific" acting: "Until the third scene, an exercise in idealized emotions, the level of hatred is almost as unpleasant as the actors are fun to watch."

  • Michael Kuchawara of The Associated Press took issue with the stridency of the production but enjoyed the performances. Kuchawara said that "Spiner comes off best as the pompous, unfeeling Hubert, cheating on his wife while at the same time tormenting the hapless Henry who needs his approval to survive in the academic community."

  • And Clive Barnes of The New York Post noted the "palpable sexual tension" between Sonia and Hubert, though he said the "splendid acting" cannot redeem "a play doomed not to work" due to the vagaries of its language.

Life (x) 3 is performed nightly at the Circle in the Square Theater at 1633 Broadway in New York. This production was directed by Matthew Warchus.

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