Valanced Faces

STRATFORD, ON—Apparently Jonathan Goad takes Hamlet at his word when he says he will “put an antic disposition on.”  His performance is full of hopping and howling; he walks backwards like a crab and suckles at Claudius’ (Geraint Wyn Davies) breast like a feeding baby.  It certainly isn’t the way I read Hamlet—and yet, it works better than…

The Sound of Music

Pinning Down a Cloud

STRATFORD, ON—Christopher Plummer famously claimed that working with Julie Andrews on The Sound of Music was like “being hit over the head with a big Valentine’s Day card, every day.”  Perhaps, though, the experience of performing in the musical and seeing the musical are not the same.  Disneyland, after all, is a very different place for a child than it is for…

Of Good Stock

I’m Right Here

Here’s an endorsement that might not sound like one: for a play about three upper-class, narcissistic WASPs alternately moaning about their medical, financial, and relationship problems, Melissa Ross’ Of Good Stock isn’t all that bad.

Happy Days

Another Heavenly Day

In a 1960 letter to a friend, Harold Pinter wrote of Samuel Beckett, “I’ll buy his goods hook, line, and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely.”  This is perhaps never more true than in Happy Days.  Winnie (Brooke Adams), buried up to her waist in earth, regularly wakes up at the…

Ghost Stories

Voicing Ghosts

Ghosts hover in the wings of two short plays by David Mamet, “Prairie du Chien” and “The Shawl,” currently paired on Atlantic Stage 2.  In “Prairie du Chien,” a raconteur (Jordan Lage) passes the time on a train by telling the story of a man who murdered his wife and hanged himself after discovering her affair with…

The Spoils

How Do You Not Like Me?

Jesse Eisenberg has gotten angrier.  His first play, Asuncion, was a merciless takedown of white, liberal politics, but at its center was a genuinely warm if dysfunctional love story.  His follow-up, The Revisionist, was admittedly colder, pitting a self-asbored, pretentious writer against a savvy, Polish Holocaust survivor.  But The Spoils, now being produced by The New Group at…

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Girls Will Be Boys and Boys Will Be Girls

Stomping around the stage like Godzilla terrorizing Tokyo, the “internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig (Darren Criss) spends nearly two hours performing what is less a traditional musical and more an almost one-man drag/cabaret show.  An East Berliner who was seduced and abandoned by an American G.I., he finally made it to America after the botched sex change…