Review: Children of a Lesser God, starring Joshua Jackson
The first revival of Children of a Lesser God, now claiming one Tony nomination for its leading actress (Lauren Ridloff) seems to be stuck in its time, despite the work done by the cast to help it feel more alive in the modern era. Billed as the most accessible show currently on Broadway, subtitles are projected just above the stage. This is a big step forward in helping more people go to theater more often.
Joshua Jackson plays James Leeds, and he has to carry the show himself. The show takes place in his character's mind and not only does he provide most the dialogue but he translates Sarah's (Ridloff) sign language for the hearing audience. Ridloff is absolutely incredible. Her performance displays so much passion and feeling and she gets it across through her facial expressions. As I quickly discovered, those who do not understand ASL can pick up on her feeling by watching her hands, as they move swiftly. She is so very deserving of her Tony nomination. The supporting cast is small, but they all do a good job, and are incredibly well cast.
While they play itself seems to drag in the beginning it soon picks up pace and keeps the audience engaged throughout the rest of the first act and the second act. It is interesting to have it told from the perspective of James' mind and it seems to take away from the ending of the show, that no one will every speak for Sarah again when that's a lot of what James does all the time.
The set is simple; just chairs, benches, door frames, and trees all used to create the various settings. The use of music in the background accentuates each scene and the choices, as well as the costumes are perfect for the time the play is set in.
While Children of a Lesser God doesn't have any major revelations it is worth seeing for Lauren Ridloff's incredible performance. In her Broadway debut she is truly a rising star, and will do incredible things in the future. The show closes on May 27th, so if you're curious make sure to get there before then!