|Uma Thurman in her Broadway debut|
A tax lawyer with no experience on the bench aspires to land a seat on the highest court in the country. (Sound familiar?) But what if the apparently GOP appointee were a secret Democrat. An insurgent on the Supreme Court could eliminate gerrymandering and voter suppression. Idealism dates this new five-character play in our more cynical age.
The judgeship may yet come about thanks to the tax attorney’s wife, who works both sides of the aisle in DC. Chloe, played by Uma Thurman in her Broadway debut, once bravely moved to Paris for a while, thus her husband thinks of her as the Parisian Woman of the play’s title.
Thurman is a screen actor of the magnitude that you rarely get to see on Broadway. Thurman is almost always onstage, and you feel you get to know her through her unique body language. She is very tall. But the playwright gives her little to do. Chloe herself explains that she is unemployed and without interests, in a scene with the amazing Blair Brown, fully expressed as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Brown’s legendary major stage magic outshines Thurman, but she also has a better part, with more authority.
The Chloe part is never given the chance to shine—or to seethe, as Uma Thurman does so well in a Lars von Trier film for which she should have won an Academy Award. She never shows anger in this play, when her anger has lit up and focused the Time’s Up movement in Hollywood to which she gave a well thought out response. But like most of the characters in The Parisian Woman, she is made to spend most of the play with the tired prop of a glass of wine in her hand.
Not coincidentally, theatergoers are allowed to bring cocktails and wine to their seats, even to bring a whole bottle of wine, as the couple beside us did. This is highly unusual on Broadway, and we were distracted during suspense onstage by the glug-glug-glug of wine poured.
French bistro La Bergamote, a ten minute stroll from the Hudson Theatre, has a long showcase of pastries and a good wine list. It’s a quiet place to talk pre-matinee. Salads are fine but the pastas and egg dishes, superior. The eggs Benedicts include a version with crab cakes. Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame look almost conjugal. You may find a chic Parisian woman at La Bergamote, or that je ne sais quoi in a chic Argentinian woman and her handsome son (pictured).