New Country

Can You Handle the Taste?

Calamity is brewing on the eve of country superstar Justin Spears’ (David Lind) wedding. Justin is in a prankish, gun-toting kind of mood. His bride-to-be is rightfully concerned about his whereabouts. His business partners are about to be given the shaft. Most importantly, his weed smoking, pill craving, alcoholic uncle Jim (Mark Roberts) is en…

The Other Thing

Governing without Consent

Freelance journalist Kim (Samantha Soule) spends an evening with Carl (John Doman), the leader of a father and son ghost hunting team. Carl is a chauvinistic codger who thinks he knows everything about women and spirits. Yet unbeknownst to him, Kim is harboring a ghost: the vengeful presence of her dead mother lives inside her, manifesting…

What I Did Last Summer

You May Grow Up to Be a Fish

A.R. Gurney has a knack for writing formally inventive plays that are, ultimately, rather conservative.  Love Letters, which recently had a run on Broadway, is entirely epistolary, but the story it tells—about nostalgia, about the passage of time—is affecting but conventional.  Now the Signature is reviving What I Did Last Summer, in which many of the…

Don Juan

Where’d You Go?

Molière’s Don Juan is an amiable little comedy, a recklessly blasphemous sendup of religious faith and other hypocrisies, with the title character (Justin Adams) abandoning all calls for decency and kindness in favor of a monomaniacal pursuit of sexual gratification.  And he really does seem sincere every time, worshipping each successive woman and then quickly abandoning her once a new one appears.…

Doctor Zhivago

Poetry’s an Indulgence

“A Moscow aristocrat, by your accent,” Strelnikov (Paul Alexander Nolan) tells the doctor/poet Yurii Zhivago (Tam Mutu) in the musical bearing his name.  I suppose it’s possible pre-revolutionary Moscow aristocrats spoke in crisp BBC English, but more likely director Des McAnuff has told his actors to avoid integrating any Slavic into their performance.  It may…

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Exchange the Bad for the Better

The Two Gentlemen of Verona has unjustly been dismissed by most scholars.  Harold Bloom, for instance, calls it “the weakest of all Shakespeare’s comedies.”  But if it doesn’t have the meat of later plays like The Merchant of Venice or All’s Well That Ends Well, it does offer humbler pleasures.  Fiasco, a company that previously mounted amiable if underwhelming productions…

The Visit

A Spectre of You

On the stage, tree roots are wrapped around old columns, their arches resembling outstretched branches.  Brachen used to welcome the likes of Goethe and Brahms; now it is a run-down near-ghost town whose inhabitants haunt its streets with a combination of nervous energy and resignation.  But Claire Zachanassian (Chita Rivera), the richest woman in the world…