Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Hatpin

photo: Danielle Lyonne

The plot of this Australian musical (performing at NYMF) may be based on true crime events, but it's Gothic soap opera: your tear ducts prepare for a workout as soon as the penniless unwed mom - circa 1892 - hands over her bastard infant to a respectable family near the top of the first act. It's entirely predictable and overheated but it undeniably gets its job done, partly thanks to the lean effectiveness of the book and the pleasures of the accomplished, often lilting score. The csst is uniformly excellent but Caroline O'Connor, playing a fruit merchant who befriends and shelters the vilified mom, is especially captivating.

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