You and I and Pickering

Bedlam is a troupe of actors best known for their small-cast stagings of large-scale plays: there was the four-person Hamlet, and before that the four-person Saint Joan.  In 2015, they began performing two versions of Twelfth Night in repertory—this required expanding the company to five.  In between their appearances in New York, artistic director Eric Tucker and his … Continue reading You and I and Pickering

The Brief Sun Flames the Ice

The set, designed by Riccardo Hernandez, is extraordinary.  Snow falls throughout, first in large heaps and then intermittently, its color reflected in the large white arches and pale furniture; the actors, dwarfed by their monochromatic surroundings, bring a little relief with their colorful costumes.  But the main effect—a sheet of white peppered with spots of humanity—put me in mind of Gloucester in Lear: “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, / They kill us for their sport.” Continue reading “The Brief Sun Flames the Ice”

Haters Go Home: Escape to Margaritaville Is the Jukebox Musical at Its Best

Because it is the Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical, Escape to Margaritaville, I suspect, will never get the praise and esteem it deserves.  What a shame.  This is a delightful two and a half hours, a paean to cargo shorts and day drinking that avoids nearly all the pitfalls of the genre.  While Mamma Mia!, for example, practically breaks blood vessels straining to string a narrative through a series of unrelated ABBA songs, Margaritaville has the benefit of back catalogue almost entirely dedicated to catchy tunes about beaches and cocktails.  It’s almost as if Buffett has been writing this musical all along, and it’s only now that someone has finally put the pieces into place. Continue reading “Haters Go Home: Escape to Margaritaville Is the Jukebox Musical at Its Best”

Do You Mind if I Ask You Questions?

In 2004, nearly a half-century after its debut, Edward Albee decided to revise The Zoo Story, adding a first act that would “flesh out Peter fully.”  Without struggle and all of a sudden, Homelife “fell from my mind to the page … intact.”  The result, At Home at the Zoo, is receiving its first New York revival courtesy of the Signature Theatre Company. Continue reading “Do You Mind if I Ask You Questions?”

Like int’ Old Days, or Not

The problem with being an enfant terrible is that eventually you grow up.  Martin McDonagh, the angry young man who banged out four plays in two years in his late twenties, is now nearing fifty.  The cynicism is still there; so is the black comedy, the moral ambiguity, and the penchant for spontaneous violence.  But the anger is gone, I think, and Hangmen, his first new play since 2010, feels deflated as a result. Continue reading “Like int’ Old Days, or Not”