Reviews

Change at the Dinner Table

Brooke Wyeth (Rachel Griffiths) complains that her family never talks about anything, though you’d never know it from Other Desert Cities, a play so laden with expository monologues and near-endless confessions that it leaves its audience crying out for the subtlety of Neil LaBute.  This monster of a production, which runs for over two hours […]

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Reviews

The Pearl Theatre Knows How to Philander

In a 1930 introduction to The Philanderer, George Bernard Shaw writes, “There is a disease to which plays as well as men become liable with advancing years.  In men it is called doting, in plays dating.  The more topical the play the more it dates.  The Philanderer suffers from this complaint.”  Reading it, one might be inclined to […]

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Reviews

Cynthia Nixon’s Limp Wit

Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., can remember the precise moment when she knew that words would be her life’s work.  It is her fifth birthday and she begins to read The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter.  She asks her father what “soporific” means, and then is delighted to see his definition realized in the illustration: “The […]

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Reviews

The Jew’s Ear Juice

We’ve all seen the photos.  A sign that reads, “Do Drunken Driving.”  Another warns, “Slip and Fall Down Carefully.”  Or a can labeled, “The Jew’s Ear Juice”—perhaps the most unappetizing beverage on the planet.  These comical mistranslations provide the springboard for Chinglish, David Henry Hwang’s new play about the failure of language as a means of […]

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Reviews

Don’t Dance at Lughnasa

In the opening moments of The Glass Menagerie, Tom tells his audience, “The play is memory.”  The same line could be used by Brian Friel in Dancing at Lughnasa, which is narrated by Michael (Michael McMonagle), a man who recalls the summer of 1936 as a cataclysmic time in his life: he would meet his father, Gerry […]

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Reviews

Of Bugs and Family

The setup to Lydia Diamond’s new play Stick Fly follows a comfortable theatrical formula: a well-to-do Black family meets up in Martha’s Vineyard, ostensibly for an ordinary get-together, but in fact to lay themselves bare and hash out decades-old resentments and secrets.  Kent “Spoon” LeVay (Dulé Hill), the youngest in the family, shows up with the manuscript […]

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Reviews

An Irksome Angel Rests Atop The Mountaintop

Katori Hall begins The Mountaintop by taking a man whose face is plastered all over New York City, a man who is compared to Jesus and Gandhi and who has just biblically bellowed before his final audience, “I’ve seen the Promised Land … Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,” and presenting […]

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