Friday, May 13, 2011

The School for Lies ****

Have I died and gone to heaven or did I really just see four wonderful plays in a row? I am ready to forgive all the long hours I have spent suffereing through unworthy plays this season just to experience a week like this.  It began with The Book of Mormon, followed by The Normal Heart and The Motherf**ker with the Hat  andcame to a exhilarating conclusion with The School for Lies at Classic Stage Company. David Ives’ brilliant riff on Moliere’s Misanthrope was sheer pleasure, a triumph of style over substance. The uniformly superb cast, the marvelous costumes by William Ivey Long, the elegantly minimalist set by John Lee Beatty, the brilliant direction by Walter Bobbie are all outstanding, but the greatest praise must go to Ives for his ingenious rhymed couplets and his clever reworking of the plot. He mixes classic diction with modern slang, criticism of 17th century French society with parody of contemporary America, witty lines with slapstick humor, all in an irresistible blend. Hamish Linklater and Mamie Gummer shine, as do all the others. Steven Boyer, Alison Fraser, Jenn Gambatese, Frank Harts, Rick Holmes, Hoon Lee and Matthew Maher each get at least one moment of glory. It has been a long time since I have laughed so hard or so often at the theater.  It’s a limited run. Get a ticket if you can!

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