THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR

****1/2

The art of skilled buffoonery is on full display at the raucous, hilarious delight, THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR, playing a limited 6 week run at New World Stages. Based on Gogol’s classic comedy of small town corruption, this modern translation by Jeffrey Hatcher is the perfect springboard for the comedia-like zany antics, laid out with clockwork precision by Director Jesse Berger. Along with Casting Director Stuart Howard, Berger assembles a cast of the Theater’s best clowns including Michael McGrath as the blowhard Mayor, Mary Testa (using the full range of her speaking voice) as his conniving wife, Arnie Burton in equally droll dual roles and Mary Lou Rosato, who is funny whether on her knees or standing.

But the greatest delight in a show full of riches is watching the inimitable Michael Urie giving a tornado of a comedic  performance that leaves you breathless and hysterical.  This tour-de-force portrayal is inspired lunacy, even when he is just trying to sit on a stool. Don’t miss it.

Show Site & Info

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946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS

****

946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS details a fatal WWII military maneuver, as told thru the eyes of a young girl when her cat gets lost behind enemy lines in England. It is brought to St. Ann’s Warehouse by the British Theatre Company Kneehigh, based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, the author of WAR HORSE.

Whimsy, Young Adult novels, War Time allegories, an adult playing a child and a puppet playing a cat…you can hear me yelling for a cab already. However, I was brought to this delightful (yes, I said DELIGHTFUL) show by a woman with an old soul and a young heart. It came at a time when I was just getting over an illness and it entertained and restored me.

The onstage band plays folk songs and big band tunes, there is even some Swing dancing. The story has its dark moments and packs an emotional wallop. The Set is stunning and Katy Owen is a wonderfully cantankerous and physically nimble heroine. Currently playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse and out on tour to a town near you, 946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS can be enjoyed by all ages, even jaded adults.

Show Site

St. Ann’s Warehouse Site

SWEENEY TODD

Jeremy Secomb and Siobhan McCarthy in The Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Photo by Sara Krulwich.

****

A friend recently said to me “Oh, God! Not another SWEENEY TODD!” And I understand. I couldn’t sit thru another GYPSY. But aren’t we all waiting for that one SWEENEY that really terrifies us?

This SWEENEY may be teeny with only 8 Actors and 3 Musicians, but it is the first one that truly creeped me out. I found myself looking all around so I wouldn’t be startled at Mr. Todd’s final entrance. Not that this production is gruesome. There is actually less blood than most, but Jeremy Secomb and Siobhan McCarthy are such a lethal pair, I found myself wondering which one was responsible for “breaking down” the corpses.

This production was site specific in London, but we have to settle for “immersive” at the Barrow Street Theatre, which is gutted to create a pie shop. Pies are available pre-show and the dinner tables double as playing space. There are no mics, which is both irksome and exciting.

So this SWEENEY delivers on meat pies and mayhem, and when Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello take over on April 11th, I may need to sit thru yet another performance of SWEENEY TODD. ; )

Show Site

Video about the production