Reviews

Spit Thy Poison

Founded in 2003, the Red Bull Theater has long been a space space for the Jacobean playwrights who are often ignored by revival companies in favor of their precedessor, Shakespeare.  In recent years, the company has added contemporary works to its roster, including Loot and The Mystery of Irma Vep, but it is nice to […]

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Reviews

If Your Face Is Twisted, It’s No Use Blaming the Mirror

The square-framed stage is divided into three rooms, two downstairs and one up, giving us the impression that we are staring into an ant farm or some kind of elaborate rodent cage.  The animals inside, a collection of inept and corrupt small-town politicians, erupt immediately into action: a government inspector is on his way from the […]

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Reviews

He Was a Kind of Nothing

Election seasons are common times to stage Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s play about a Roman war hero (Dion Johnstone) who runs for consul despite his contempt for the common people.  Unversed in political matters, Coriolanus is undone by his rivals Brutus (Merritt Janson) and Sicinius (Stephen Spinella) and decides to ally himself with his former enemy, the Volscian commander Tullus […]

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Reviews

First Sight of Woman

In 1621, Thomas Middleton and William Rowley rewrote the story of the fall of man with their Jacobean tragedy The Changeling: Beatrice (Sara Topham) is engaged to marry Alonzo de Piracquo (John Skelley), but she is in love with Alsemero (Christian Coulson), who is equally smitten.  He tells his friend, Jasperino (Justin Blanchard), “I love her beauties to the holy purpose, / […]

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Reviews

Her Sickness Is a Fullness of Her Blood

When Declan Donnellan directed ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore at BAM three years ago, he stripped the play of everything but its core plot—the incestuous and ultimately fatal affair between Giovanni (Matthew Amendt) and his sister Annabella (Amelia Pedlow)—and the result was cinematic, highly stylized, and saturated with melodrama. In a new revival by Jesse Berger, John Ford’s […]

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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

Stop—and Look Around

“People are profoundly bad, but irresistibly funny.”  This quotation, from playwright Joe Orton, serves as the epigraph to a revival of his Loot, currently running at the Lucille Lortel Theater.  It is staggeringly misleading.  Applied to a work by, say, Edward Bond, or Tom Stoppard, or Sarah Kane, it would be appropriate.  But Loot is […]

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