Mixed Reception For Mulgrew's 'Royal Family'

By Caillan
April 9, 2004 - 2:06 PM

Kate Mulgrew's (Kathryn Janeway) latest foray onto the stage has provoked a range of positive and negative reactions from theatre critics.

Mulgrew is currently starring in The Royal Family, an affectionate parody of stage actors, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. The former Star Trek: Voyager actress plays Julie Cavendish, the current darling of the Broadway stage, who is contemplating giving up her theatrical career for good. Critical feedback to Mulgrew has been mixed, ranging from unstinting praise to the criticism that her performance is too over the top.

Ed Kaufman at the Hollywood Reporter described the performances as "uniformly excellent" with Mulgrew playing "the funny and sardonic Julie who has a classic meltdown and renounces the theater and everything it stands for (before she rushes off to the evening's performance)".

Evan Henerson at Redlands Daily Facts also praised Mulgrew's turn as Julie, the middle generation of the Cavendish theatrical family. "With slushy s's and a killer wardrobe (Robert Blackman does the entire ensemble up proud), [Mulgrew] has brought a bit of a young Kate Hepburn to Julie."

However, not all reviewers were as positive about Mulgrew's performance. Over at the OC Register, Paul Hodgins said her characterisation was too on the nose. "The actress seems to labor a bit with her big-outburst scene, and she sometimes lets Sarah Bernhardt histrionics substitute for genuine revelation."

Variety's Phil Gallo was even more pointed in his criticism of Mulgrew's performance. "Her rigid jaw pointedly aimed on nearly every sentence, she has an overly mannered speech pattern that ultimately blocks any chance of striking an emotional connection with her family or the audience."

Costume designer Robert Blackman, who has been creating Star Trek's costumes since the days of The Next Generation, was lauded by several reviewers. "Blackman's dresses and suits are gloriously sophisticated and nuanced sufficiently to establish the hierarchy of the players," wrote Gallo.

The Royal Family runs at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles until May 16, 2004. Further details are available at Totally Kate.

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