Reviews

The Theater or Rolling Dung Balls

There was a time when high culture was high, low culture was low, and never the ‘twain should meet.  The middle-class intellectuals who attended plays by Shakespeare and Chekhov likely returned home to listen to Beethoven and Bach, later retiring to bed with a good, fat novel by George Eliot or Leo Tolstoy.  The popular […]

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Reviews

The Scourge of God

What are we to make of Marlowe’s Tamburlaine (John Douglas Thompson), the Scythian shepherd-turned-emperor who spends most of this two-part play committing mass murder without any hint of guilt or self-doubt?  He resembles later theatrical incarnations of political evil, like Shakespeare’s Richard III and Macbeth, but no ghosts of victims come back to haunt him, no authorial […]

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Reviews

Scourge of Human Folly

The word “wolves” has three syllables in Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep—it’s pronounced something like “wool-vuh-zz”—and, like everything in this spoof of Gothic narratives, it is unflappably silly and rather funny despite itself.  Irma Vep, which plays a bit like the creative team behind The Naked Gun hijacked Hitchcock’s Rebecca, features two actors (Arnie Burton and […]

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Reviews

A Rare Meal of Laughter

Like Christopher Marlowe’s Barabas and William Shakespeare’s Richard III, Ben Jonson’s Volpone (Stephen Spinella) is one of the great comic villains of the theater.  Through a mixture of genius, amorality, and boredom, he uses his wealth and his social standing to turn the greediest men of Venice into a series of drooling zombies.  Pretending to […]

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Reviews

Doctor Faustus and Mr. Hyde

François Truffaut once said of Hitchcock’s movies, “The love scenes were filmed like murder scenes, and the murder scenes like love scenes.”  The same could be done with comedy and tragedy in the theater; it would be nice to see Twelfth Night, considering all its darker elements, staged as a tragedy and to see Hamlet, loaded with […]

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