Saturday, February 03, 2007

Britannicus at the A.R.T.

excellent execution of Racine's Roman drama depicting the final days of the son of the late Emperor Claudius before his murder at the hands of the infamous Princeps Nero.
Liked Kevin O'Donnell quite a bit in the title role he plays it honest, unassuming and fearfully unaware of the malevolent forces arrayed against him. Alfredo Narcisco's Nero is a familiar depraved type...artsy and homicidal. Kudos to Joan MacIntosh as Agrippina, Nero's nasty stage mother who fears her darling boy has unknotted her apron strings and stolen off on his own.
The A.R.T. for once toned down, the odd even inexplicable artsy flourishes that usual characterize a revival like this were nowhere to be seeen.
That my friends was a welcome discovery to say the least.
There were times in other shows, where the trapeze artists and Balinese finger dancers all seemd closer to second house vaudeville than modern theater at it's most sublime.
No if there is a problem with "Britannicus" it lies in the text, Agrippina spends most of the play as a cold calculating dominatrix before turning unconscionably credulous in the third act. to Ms. McIntosh she plays thru it all with aplomb.
The play however was great and runs thru this week, well worth the effort to see it.