Ubu 84 (review)

Ubu 84 (review)
Ubu 84 (review)
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THE PLAY: This play alternates between the basic plots of Orwell’s “1984” and Jarry’s “Ubu Roi,” while examining the contrasting themes of each.


THE PRODUCTION: Writer/director James Ricks has boldly staged these plays with wildly contrasting styles. “1984” is a dreary, intentionally underlit drama that takes too long to develop and lacks a sense of impending doom. The performances are somber, but lack an intensity that would have made the paranoia more effective. The extended reading of a book excerpt goes on too long and includes exposition that we’ve already heard. In contrast, “Ubu” is a riotously zany, stylized presentation that skillfully references the play’s absurdist roots. As Pa & Ma Ubu, Foster Solomon and Kimberly Jones Clark are spectacular! They’re committed to the crazy and it pays off with inspired comic thrills. The ensemble also adds delightfully crazy characterizations. Ubu shows Rick’s brilliant directorial talent, but his lofty goal for this production falls short in the somewhat bland bleakness of 1984. The neutral set by Tennessee Dixon is complemented her video design, which adds interesting visual elements. Bill Miller’s 1984 dramatic lighting often denies us a clear view of the actors, but Cora Delbridge’s Ubu costumes are wonderfully wacky. (Running time: 2:15)


THE POINT: This study in contrasts, both in subject and style, lacks the dramatic punch to fully realize 1984, but creates an absurdist tour de force with Ubu.


Ubu: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5), 1984 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5), Combined 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)


At Firehouse Theatre thru 10/22



An scene from 1984 with Christopher Dunn, Charley Raintree and Bartley Mullin

1 Comment

  1. Looks like someone doesn’t know what Brecthian theatre is….

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