A goodhearted mess: Billy Elliot
David Scheinmann
A goodhearted mess: Billy Elliot


Billy Elliot
By Lee Hall and Elton John
Imperial Theatre
249 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200

La Damnation de Faust
By Hector Berlioz and Almire Gandonniére
Metropolitan Opera
Lincoln Center, 212-362-6000

Saturn Returns
By Noah Haidle
Newhouse Theater
Lincoln Center, 212-239-6200

If Noah Haidle's Saturn Returns, next door in the Newhouse, has any dramatic point, it's hard to perceive. Saturn, a slow-moving planet, supposedly produces a changed consciousness of life when it enters your astrological chart, about once every 30 years. But Haidle's hero—played by three fine actors at 28, 58, and 88, respectively—remains the same stodgy, sardonic, otherwise traitless person throughout, while one appealing actress, Rosie Benton, tries to nudge change out of him as his wife, daughter, and home health aide. Short (75 minutes), slight, and sentimental, the play's tidy cleverness seems as vapid as its hero, making the resources expended on it seem a more shocking waste than those poured, however erratically, into Faust or Billy Elliot.

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