Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Stanley

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Stanley

Article excerpt

It's no surprise that Stanley is a hit on Broadway. Earlier this year the British production swept the Olivier awards, England's equivalent of the Tonys. Now Stanley's New York production offers gay and lesbian audiences an additional pleasure: the American debut of one of England's great openly gay stars, Antony Sher.

With a resume that stretches from Shakespeare's Richard III to Torch Song Trilogy Sher rivals Kenneth Branagh in popularity back home. But like the important 1950s English painter Sir Stanley Spencer, whom he portrays here, Sher is not well-known in America. That seems sure to change, however. As the petulant painter who believes that his talent sets him apart from--that is, above--the rest of humanity, Sher is flawless.

For sheer wrongheadedness, the true-life saga of Spencer is hard to beat. The painter fell in love with a lesbian--not unheard-of. But in pursuit of this particular lesbian, he threw away his home, happiness, and health. For three hours we watch Stanley destroy his life and the lives of others, leaving a devoted and delightful wife, Hilda (Deborah Findlay), so he can marry Patricia (Anna Chancellor), a lesbian social climber who also hangs on to her long-suffering lover, Dorothy (Selina Cadell). …

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