Photo: Stan Barouh
Excerpted from Theater Review (NYC): Lovesong of the Electric Bear on Blogcritics.
Alan Turing—mathematician, code-breaker, war hero, homosexual, victim of state-sponsored chemical castration, suicide—comes across as a tragic figure in just about any telling. But the English playwright Snoo Wilson has done what students of 20th century history might have considered impossible: turned the life of this visionary, who died by cyanide in 1954 just shy of his 42nd birthday, into an epic celebration. He does it through an episodic, half-fantastical trip through the stations of Turing's life, guided by the stuffed bear, Porgy. Turing really did have a Porgy Bear, but here Porgy comes to life as an antic, touchy jester who speaks with a quasi-Shakespearean flair. The script refers to Turing as a genius, but Porgy, played with unflagging energy and broad humor by Tara Giordano, is the genius (in the original sense) of this tale, the representative spirit who draws Alan, Scrooge-like, through scenes of boyhood, the cruelty of public school, hesitant then confident sexuality, cloak-and-dagger war action, and, of course, his work. The fundamental question remains: what was Turing really like? We're asked to take it on faith that he was a socially isolated weirdo, not "comfortable with existence." The Turing we actually get to know here is, with the exception of a scene or two, merely a bit eccentric, and sweet as can be. It would be wrong, however, to ask the play to be something it doesn't set out to be. It's meant, I think, to be a corrective to the tragic aura that suffuses our awareness of Turing.