I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers
Here’s hoping this one-woman show is the first step in Bette Midler’s “reconquest of the New York stage.”
Booth Theatre, New York
Here’s hoping this one-woman show is the first step in Bette Midler’s “reconquest of the New York stage,” said Elisabeth Vincentelli in the New York Post. To be fair, the actress’s role here isn’t all that different from her own outsize persona. She’s playing another “Divine Miss M”—in this case, real-life movie agent Sue Mengers. Midler’s Mengers passes the 90-minute show lounging on a couch, puffing on a joint, “pumping out profane one-liners,” and coming to terms with the defection of her Rolodex’s crown jewel, Barbra Streisand. So what if the role isn’t a bold departure? The show proves “wickedly entertaining precisely because performer and material are so perfectly matched.”
It’s certain to elicit one of two reactions, said Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune. If you love Hollywood gossip, you’ll “eat up this stuff as if you were a star-struck caterer.” But you also might find Sue and her problems insufferably petty, “the consequence of too much money sloshing around the wrong priorities.” Still, as we witness a player in decline, writer John Logan “does not force-feed us pathos,” said Charles Isherwood in The New York Times. Mengers laments the rise of a new breed of bottom-line agencies, but it’s clear that’s not her only problem. “Midler subtly conveys that Sue has begun to feel the soft sting of her feisty heedlessness beginning to bite back.” In doing so, she gives Broadway audiences “the most lusciously entertaining performance” of the season.