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"Match": Patrick Stewart Is Embroiled in a Ballet Drama 

Wednesday, Jan 21 2015

Stephen Belber's Match is based on his own play, and most of its running time is three characters in a few settings. But that's just one less main character than the similarly claustrophobic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and while Match is no Woolf?, it's still a nice little character piece. Tobi (Patrick Stewart) is a ballet instructor at Juilliard who is visited by two-out-of-towners, Lisa (Carla Gugino) and Mike (Matthew Lillard). This nice straight couple claim to be working on a dissertation about the history of dance in the New York of the 1960s, a subject with which the flamboyant (if not necessarily out-of-the-closet) Tobi is intimately familiar. But all is not quite as it seems, and before long they've descended into duh-rama worthy of Albee, with screaming and recriminations and what can only be described as a rape scene. Possibly the main value of Match is that while Stewart nails the quiet moments — particularly the quiet desperation of being alone, queer, and aging in an indifferent city — his performance isn't necessarily toned down for film. Few things are more entertaining than Stewart playing to the cheap seats, and since most of us will probably never get to see him in a live performance, Match may be the next best thing.


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Sherilyn Connelly


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