All in Play

REVIEW: Exploring Truthiness in “The Lifespan of a Fact”

“The Lifespan of a Fact” is a poppy procedural and socially conscious comedy about facts, falsehoods, the nature of non-fiction, the boundaries of creative license, and the ethics of journalism.  Bobby Canavale, Cherry Jones, and Daniel Radcliffe are a radiant trio in Leigh Silverman’s swift and entertaining production.  This is the Trump-era play we’ve been waiting for: smart and funny, with a serious message about the importance of facts and fact-checking to the trust and integrity of institutions.

REVIEW: Heidi Schreck’s stunning and poignant “What the Constitution Means to Me”

Part civics lesson, part memoir—at once bittersweet and beautiful— Heidi Schreck’s mostly one-woman play “What the Constitution Means to Me” at  New York Theatre Workshop recounts her formative experience of wrestling with the constitution’s meaning as a teenager through the lens of her adult self, the women in her family, and the bitterly divided nation it serves.  Heartbreaking, humorous, brilliant, and profoundly important, this is a must-see event of the fall season.

REVIEW: “The Nap”—prepare to be snookered

Manhattan Theatre Club presents Richard Bean’s hilarious new comedy, “The Nap”, a high-stakes, low-rent farce set in the world of Snooker (British pool).  A superbly comical, poised, and perfectly cast ensemble of kooky characters make this off-beat crime thriller comedy the kind of delightfully droll escape that only theatre can provide.  Silly, yes, but that’s never been more needed than right now.

REVIEW: “Bernhardt/Hamlet”—bold and incoherent

Theresa Rebeck’s “Bernhardt/Hamlet” is a backstage comedy-drama of historical fiction recounting Sarah Bernhardt’s groundbreaking 1897 turn as Hamlet in Paris; discursive, incoherent, and verbose, the play has nothing particularly interesting to say about gender politics as it ambitiously attempts to tackle a panoply of themes and ideas.  I’d much rather see Ms. McTeer play Hamlet than watch an endless series of rehearsals.

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.