PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 10-16: Soul Doctor Opens, Rattlestick Presents The Hilltown Plays and Spider-Man Suffers Injuries

By Robert Simonson
16 Aug 2013

Daniel Breaker, Kimiko Glenn and Patti Murin
photo by Joan Marcus
The critics responded with reviews that, even when they were intended as positive, came off as qualified. The New York Times called it a "woozy frolic," saying, "In this production, there is seldom a real connection between the singers and their songs. It's as if the musical numbers, which cover a gamut of pastiche styles, had been assigned at random from a mixtape playlist… As a silly diversion for the silly season, it passes muster, but only just."

New York magazine said the show "turns out to have the makings of a fine rompy musical. Alex Timbers and Michael Freidman may not have reached that goal quite yet, let alone anything loftier, but by reveling in the original's almost revue-like nature instead of trying to fix it, and by tailoring the story to a modern setting that suits it well, they have made opportunities out of the play's liabilities, and a delicious summer evening out of questionable ingredients."

Entertainment Weekly decreed that, "As with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Timbers and Friedman write like antic Ivy League parodists, kings of the Dramat, studding the Bard's narrative with pop culture references, meta-jokes, and sight gags that can occasionally seem more silly than apt." And USA Today offered that "Lost is propelled by sheer giddy energy. Luckily, that's enough to sustain this 100-minute offering, which is enhanced considerably by Timbers' nimble guidance of a winning young cast...So West Side Story it ain't. Lost's adroit goofiness — and a disarmingly sweet ending — still make it a pleasing midsummer night's diversion."

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Alex Timbers certainly likes his musicalized Shakespeare.

The man who just finished staging Love's Labour's Lost at the Delacorte is now hard at work on The Last Goodbye, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, featuring songs by the late rocker Jeff Buckley. Conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel, it will run at the Old Globe beginning Sept. 20. The cast features Jay Armstrong Johnson as Romeo and Talisa Friedman as Juliet.

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The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater began an ambitious undertaking called The Hilltown Plays Aug. 14

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