Berger's sloppy treatment of the Jewish and anti-Semitic materials gives the play itself an air of anti-Semitism. This naïve, somewhat lazy writing effort seems to go out of control and winds up in unintended territory. Bright comedy devolves to dark disorder.
The festive season is always marked by a plethora of stage offerings. Here are capsule reviews of four them.
The play itself is interesting enough, and the characters strong enough, to sustain our interest for more than two hours. It premiered in 1954 with Geraldine Page as Lizzie and received a Broadway revival in 1999 with Woody Harrelson as Starbuck. As an exercise for young actors, this production probably works well. As a coherent piece of drama, not so much.
The production, directed by Sarah Rodgers, is very good. The show is at its best with the realistic story. Rosa fights with her mother and stepmother (battles that are usually hilarious), and Amante narrates the drama of Rosa's search for answers, her visit to the crash scene, her questions about the accident.
Four working-class buddies and their strange visitor play poker one very long Christmas Eve. Only two of the players know how much is really at stake as the cards are dealt and Euros tossed into the pot. For most players a few dollars may be lost, but for one character much more is at stake. His knowledge, shared by the audience, is the source of this play's exciting drive to an unpredictable conclusion.