All in Off-Broadway

REVIEW: WWI Through the Eyes of a Young Soldier in “Private Peaceful”

In “Private Peaceful”, Irish actor Shane O’Regan makes a smashing New York debut playing 24 characters in a one-man World War I story.  A dispatch from the trenches of war told from the perspective of a young solider, this simple but arresting play is a haunting reminder of the savage cost of war and the terrific sacrifices made for democracy by those who came before us.  I recommend you catch this crisp and brilliant production before it goes on tour.  

REVIEW: Edie Falco in “The True”

In “The True”, playwright Sharr White dramatizes the 1977 Albany Mayoral primary election from a domestic, interpersonal perspective.  Edie Falco is fiercely magnetic as real life, foul-mouthed political operative Polly Noonan, but the play itself is rarely compelling and suffers from sedentary staging and unrealistic expository conversations that explain complex—and fundamentally uninteresting—political dynamics.

REVIEW: “The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d”

“The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d” makes its imprint in explicitly displaying the tragedy of its titular “revolving cycles” of racism and indifference, and by viscerally depriving the audience of any disconnection between the world of the stage and the world of our lives.  With terrific performances throughout, and trenchant treatment of a devastating story and situation, metatheatrical devices cloud its impact, which can be too clinical, but is nevertheless striking.

REVIEW: The Pond Theatre Company presents “The Naturalists”

The Pond Theatre Company, dedicated to world premieres of plays by Irish and British writers, presents “The Naturalists” anew play by Irish playwright Jaki McCarrick.  Even though the pace and tone of the piece varies widely from act one to act two, you won’t find a better acted suite of scenes on any New York stage than the ones here.  The Pond is a new theatre company worth keeping your eyes on.

REVIEW: “The Gospel at Colonus” in Central Park

The Public Theater and the Onassis Foundation USA present a six performance concert of “The Gospel at Colonus” in Central Park; this gospel-infused re-telling of Sophocles’ “Oedipus at Colonus” is set at a black Pentecostal service and delivered as a sermon.  The concept is genius, the storytelling muddled, and the music a little labored. Nevertheless, it is an experience to be remembered.

REVIEW: Wonder of Wonders! Miracle of Miracles! “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish”

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbeine’s “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” breathes fresh life into a treasured property from the golden age of musical comedy, forcing audiences to interact anew with what is now one of the most well-known and performed musicals of all time, and providing, in return, a host of vital performances and resonant insights.  It is, in short, a revelation.  See it, or regret it.