Monday, October 20, 2008

To Be Or Not To Be (The SOB Review)

To Be Or Not To Be (The SOB Review) - Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, New York

*1/2 (out of ****)

Daring to ask Shakespeare's famous question To Be Or Not To Be right up front in the title of a play is a risky proposition, to be sure. But since there's no shying away from responding, the answer is a simple, "No."

Try as he might, playwright Nick Whitby has come up quite short in his efforts to update the classic 1942 comedy about a Polish theatre troupe. After being forced to close by the Nazi censors, the actors are recruited for their greatest acting challenge involving covert activity.

Despite the capable cast, including David Rasche as troupe leader Josef and Jan Maxwell as his straying wife Maria, and some intermittently funny bits, director Casey Nicholaw can't save this from being among the most ill-conceived and boring "new" plays of the season.

Why Whitby and Nicholaw ever decided this was Broadway ready? Well, that my dear friends is the real question.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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