I haven’t seen the others yet, but this was really very, very good. Dad and I agree that it wasn’t superb, just very, very good. Why not superb? Mostly because it wasn’t profound. But the production values were excellent (and it won a Tony for best lighting and best scenic design), and the acting was excellent (how old is that piano player? was he actually playing the piano? is he the playwrite’s autobiographical character?). The direction was superb, and the Tony voters agreed.
Dad, a playwright in his own right, commented that he felt the Headmaster character was too one-dimensional (“too flat”). At the intermission, I agreed with him. But at the end, when it became clear that the play is, in fact, a memoir, I started to wonder: should Bennett have taken dramatic license to make him more interesting? I think not. Dad seems to think so. Interesting question.
It’s a shame the American theater can’t come up with stuff this good as often as the Brits seem to these days. It was light, funny, and really very good. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon.