God and the Law

Who knew all Ibsen needed was a bit of menace?  A little over a year ago, BAM presented the Young Vic’s stellar production of A Doll’s House, which tore off the play’s moralizing veneer and exposed a domestic thriller more akin to Hitchcock than Shaw.  Now we have Ghosts, which begins in much the same manner, with Jacob Engstrand…

Finding Neverland

Losing Peter Pan

During the second act of Finding Neverland, playwright J.M. Barrie (Matthew Morrison) suggests that twenty-five seats at the premiere of his new play, Peter Pan, should be reserved for children.  At the start of the play-within-a-play, theater owner Charles Frohman (Kelsey Grammar) asks all the children in both audiences to wave their hands in the air. Despite a sold-out…


A Rash and Bloody Deed

Peter Sarsgaard is a very good actor, and he shouldn’t be ashamed of his unfortunate and dreadful performance in Hamlet, since the role has swallowed up greater performers than he.  Still, the production currently running at the Classic Stage Company amounts to an embarrassing three hours, full of mistakes both slight and glaring.

Great Kills

The Unexceptionally-Laid Schemes o’ Mice and Men

In the fields surrounding Meadowbrook, a soon-to-be shuttered mental institution, there is a bounty of discarded stainless steel furniture. While some might see these pieces as junk, Tim (Robert Homeyer) sees them as a once in a lifetime opportunity. To him, the Meadowbrook furniture is the kind of trendy antique Manhattan dwellers will plop down…

Wolf Hall

Too Much i’ the Sun

Wolf Hall is a blockbuster in the best sense: running nearly six hours, it chronicles the rise of Thomas Cromwell (Ben Miles) from his early and lifelong friendship with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (Paul Jesson) to his domination of Henry VIII’s (Nathaniel Parker) court, specifically detailing his orchestration of Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon (Lucy Briers) and…


Unarming Troilus

I am not a Shakespearean purist.  There is nothing inherently wrong with, say, relocating The Merchant of Venice to present-day Las Vegas, with handing Macbeth a machine gun, or with reading The Tempest and deciding it should look like this.  But the ideas should always be generated by the text instead of imposed onto them.  The problem…

Heidi Chronicles, TheMusic Box Theatre

Keep the Faith

Art historian Heidi Holland (Elisabeth Moss) is a true believer.  Worse, she is “that unfortunate contradiction in terms: a serous good person.”  This means, among other things, that she is a feminist who is skeptical of the radical and divisive feminist politics in the ‘seventies but who maintains her integrity as she watches those same…