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Brad Heberlee

Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie

April 15, 2019

Those who loved The Mad Ones’ "Miles for Mary" which had an extended run at Playwrights Horizons last year after its premiere at The Brooklyn Starr in 2016, will be greatly disappointed by their latest group effort called "Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie." The beautifully renovated Greenwich House offers the first play of the Ars Nova residency a lovely venue for this new play and the Lila Neugebauer production is impeccable acted and designed. However, this fictional recreation of a focus group, like most cinema verité, has no discernable dramatic event, making it a long 90 minutes. [more]

Peter Pan (Bedlam)

November 25, 2017

Such changes as Captain Hook being a woman or Tinker Bell speaking French are neither explained nor meaningful, while some of the doubling simply makes the play hard to follow as the characters are not listed in the programs which are given out after the performance. A voice-over which appears to read stage directions from the original is both intrusive and inconsistent: why some characters but not others? There is a dark psychological story hidden in Barrie’s tale of a boy who refuses to grow up but this isn’t it. Whereas the original play is joyful, Bedlam’s Peter Pan is a glum affair in which no one seems to be having a very good time. Where is the Bedlam which brought such purposeful insight and visual dazzle to its previous work? The actors, mostly playing children, try hard but fail to bring the work to life. [more]

Vanity Fair

April 11, 2017

Tucker’s production uses seven actors playing 20 named characters plus members of the ensemble: the women (Joey Parsons and Hamill play one each, good girl Amelia Sedley and bad girl Becky Sharp, respectively) and the men play all the rest, including other female characters with the addition of wigs and slight costume changes. This allows the cast to demonstrate tremendous versatility in these juicy roles. [more]

A Life

October 25, 2016

Pierce coolly addresses the audience while delivering this mundane litany. His superb comic timing, long evident on the television situation comedy "Frasier," is on glorious display here. That quality combined with his dramatic depth and soothingly funny delivery makes this opening sequence mesmerizing. [more]

Small Mouth Sounds

July 27, 2016

Inspired by the playwright’s attending a silent spiritual retreat at an upstate New York institute in the woods, this is an absorbing play which immediately causes the viewers to listen intently as our world is never really silent. In Stowe Nelson’s remarkable soundscape, the play begins with a torrential rain, and then proceeds to a great many sounds we usually take for granted (both performed by the actors and recorded): breathing, laughing, clicking of a pen, sighing, a gong ringing, whispers, giggling, crickets chirping, the crunching of chips, birds, a sip of tea, a sneeze, coughing, a cell phone ringing. As a result of this state of affairs and the fact that the actors (in general) don’t speak, we become attuned to watch the smallest facial expression and other forms of non-verbal communication. [more]

The Dingdong

April 29, 2016

Shanahan’s adaptation has a great many delicious one-liners and double-entendres (“I don’t go out for mutton when I can have filet mignon at home;” “Keep referring to me as a plate of food and you’ll be dining a la carte;” “I put a leash on my ‘inner beast’ and take him out for a walk every once in a while;” “Looks like you have a bad case of the puberty, kid. You should see a doctor,”) as well as witty exchanges between the warring couples. Much of the fun of the play is seeing the same actors return over and over again in different roles often within a matter of seconds. Best is Kelly Curran who throws herself into four very different women, one more enticing than the other: the Parisian vixen Claudia Pontegnac, the tempestuous Italian Fabiola Soldignac, the oversexed New Yawker Mandy, and a very sexy French maid in bouffant costume with a feather duster. [more]

Don Juan

May 27, 2015

The Pearl Theatre Company’s express aim in reviving this curiosity according to translator Jess Burkle, responsible for this world premiere adaptation, is “to connect the experience of the play in the original French to American audiences in 2015.” Burkle’s method is to use “alliteration, idiom, and mixed metaphor” as “the key to getting us all to pay attention to Moliere’s glowing words.” Much of the problem with Hal Brooks’ production is that while all of the characters aside from Don Juan (who is clothed as a rock star) are dressed in 17th century costumes, the text is made up of contemporary language. [more]

The Rivals

May 11, 2014

The Pearl Theatre Company's revival of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1777 comedy of manners "The Rivals" is both laugh-out-loud funny and intellectually stimulating. Hal Brooks' exemplary direction scores immediately in the first scene. It's a typical pre-modern opening, pages of dense exposition where a couple of minor characters discuss the major characters and their situations. Brooks avoids tedium and confusion by having the characters appear upstage when named, doing a bit of dumb show when appropriate. It's a perfect solution, introducing the actors and plot without fuss, without anachronism, and without wasting time. [more]