Reviews

On a Dark, Dark Road in a Dark, Dark State

John Grisham’s South is an ethically uncomplicated place.  Racist hicks rape ten-year-old Black girls.  Idealistic lawyers, with rolled up sleeves and toothpicks planted firmly in their mouths, mosey into empty courtrooms—perhaps to spend a private moment with the smell of justice.  And fathers whose daughters have been harmed know the meaning of Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To […]

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Reviews

Bracelets. Silk. A Hairdo.

As Dangerous Liaisons ends—with a specter of the guillotine projected behind aristocrats playing cards—so begins David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette.  But historical truth isn’t the point here, which is fitting since the French Queen is best remembered for a mistranslation of an apocryphal story: in Rousseau Confessions, the author refers to a “great princess” who, upon […]

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Reviews

Kissing and Killing

When Odysseus returned to Penelope, he seemed so comfortable in violent spaces, so uncomfortable in domestic ones, that his first action was not to bed his wife but to behead all her suitors.  Something similar is happening in Othello, where a great general (Keldrick Crowder) can protect Cypress from Turkish invasion (albeit with some help […]

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Reviews

All Are Punish’d

I am far from a traditionalist when it comes to Shakespeare, but I challenge anyone to justify restaging the Capulet party as a half rave, half middle school dance, with Romeo (Julian Cihi) in the middle dressed up as Winnie the Pooh.  Perhaps director Tea Alagić wanted to emphasize the youth of Shakespeare’s characters—but in […]

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Reviews

Burn the Phony Dream

Big Fish is about what you would expect it to be: it is diverting, colorful, and it goes down easy.  If it is slightly disappointing, it is because quite a lot of talent has come together to produce this underwhelming musical, from director Susan Stroman (The Producers) to star Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, […]

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Reviews

Clash of Civilizations Over a Chai in the Upper West Side

Being a Jew is exhausting.  There’s the self-loathing, the guilt, the language (which doesn’t even use Roman letters), and—for those of us born after 1948—the inescapable identification of Jewishness with Auschwitz.  Even the question of what it means to consider oneself a Jew is too complex for any reasonable person to try to answer completely.  […]

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