Big Love – Charles L. Mee

Big Love is big fun at Berkeley Rep. O.K., so it’s Aeschylus again but Charles L. Mee’s zany rehash of the ancient story of 50 brides who flee 50 grooms rather than be forced into marriage bears little outward resemblance to the somber Oresteia that opened the Rep’s  ...

Betrayal – Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter can be as inscrutable as anybody this side of Samuel Beckett. That’s one of the reasons that his 1978 Betrayal came as such a relief. Totally accessible, the story of a woman, her husband and her lover is sometimes known as “the backwards play.” That’s because Pinter  ...

Big Maggie – John B. Keane

Big Maggie is a compelling vision of the Irish mother as sociopath. Maggie Polpin (Marie Mullen) is a just widowed mother of four living in rural Ireland, now sole owner of the family shop and farm. She a complex figure, far from the cliches of Irish femininity which preceded  ...

Cabaret

Suggested reading: I Am a Camera Christopher Isherwood, John van Druten The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin Christopher Isherwood Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s (1995), Otto Friedrich Cabaret Lyrics  ...

Candide

Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein ... Like virtually every other major production before it, the Royal National Theatre’s Candide has undergone considerable alteration. One of the great flawed Broadway musicals, the show has been endlessly revised since its premier in 1956. Along the way it  ...

Chicago – The Musical

Walter Bobbie's revival of Fred Ebb and John Kander's Chicago (seen by your reviewer in London in January) is, seemingly, unstoppable. Productions are opening the world over to ecstatic reviews and the London mounting, which had its first performance in November 1997, is no exception. The  ...

Closer – Patrick Marber

If sex sells, Patrick Marber’s "Closer" should make a bundle. But this British comedy-drama of coupling and uncoupling, instant attraction and inveterate infidelity, offers more than just a voyeur’s peek inside somebody else’s bedroom. It exposes the raw nerve of pain that comes with the territory of love,  ...

Dinner With Friends – Donald Margulies

It might have been called “A Tale of Two Marriages.” Whatever the title, Donald Margulies’ Dinner With Friends merits its Pulitzer Prize. An apparently simple story of one couple’s breakup and its effect on their closest friends, it evolves into an examination of the nature of friendship itself. How  ...

Dirty Blonde – Claudia Shear

"I made myself platinum, but I was born a dirty blonde." Some Mae West fans can quote every line from every film and then some. In Claudia Shear's play with music, lots of recognizable West lines have been tossed into the script, but sometimes it's hard to know  ...