The Bulwark of England’s Greatness

The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players is clearly a labor of love.  At a recent performance of H.M.S. Pinafore, its founder, artistic director, general manager, and conductor Albert Bergeret announced that it was Bring Your Grandparents Day; during intermission, he would be personally signing up families to take backstage tours after the show, each one led by a different character from the opera.  At odd moments throughout the show, as if he couldn’t delegate all the hammy fun to his actors, Mr. Bergeret would insert himself into the drama, conducting the orchestra against the will of Sir Joseph Porter (James Mills) or Captain Corcoran (David Auxier).  This is all to say that as much as I enjoyed H.M.S. Pinafore—and I did so tremendously—I think the cast and crew enjoyed it even more. Continue reading “The Bulwark of England’s Greatness”

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Blame Not This Haste of Mine

Fiasco Theater, a group of Brown alumni best known for their streamlined, energetic stagings of Shakespeare, is back, this time at the Classic Stage Company for a revival of Twelfth Night.  Fiasco is at its best when the material is light and conducive to their zany inclinations and at its worst when they select plays too complicated or too dark for this approach.  Thus, they found their greatest success in the fluffy and little-loved Two Gentleman of Verona but stumbled when tackling Measure for Measure, a play that takes sexual assault as its central subject. Continue reading “Blame Not This Haste of Mine”

The Truth Is What Happened

In the 1920s, Isaac Babel (Danny Burstein), a Russian journalist stationed in Poland, enters his thoughts in a diary. He writes about the night, the field, the soldier with whom he shares a pilfered wine bottle (Zach Grenier). In 2010, a plane crashes, the Polish government is instantly obliterated and the diary slips into unlikely new hands. In the intervening years, regimes are toppled, friendships are tested, unlikely offspring emerge and the truth about everything that’s happened is repeatedly tested. Continue reading “The Truth Is What Happened”

Rented Meat

The electricity doesn’t come on until as late as ten o’clock.  This means that Hazel (Deborah Findlay) and Robin (Ron Cook), two retired nuclear engineers, usually eat cold meals—crackers or salad.  An “exclusion zone” has been set up around their former work site, a reactor that was haphazardly built by the sea and is about to begin contaminating the water.  When Rose (Francesca Annis), a woman from their past, returns home after nearly forty years, she soon disrupts the peace the couple have made with their part in all of it. Continue reading “Rented Meat”

In the Land of Sinners, the Whore Is Queen

We begin with a lovers’ quarrel.  “Who are you writing?” Peter (Martin Csokas) barks at Chloe (Uma Thurman).  Peter’s jealousy has gotten worse recently—or maybe Chloe has changed since January.  “Give me your phone,” he demands after hearing the ding of a text.  “Once you stop trusting me,” she asks him, “what do we have left?”  But the two are interrupted by someone at the door: “It’s my husband!” Continue reading “In the Land of Sinners, the Whore Is Queen”