Wednesday, April 03, 2019

The Cradle Will Rock

Marc Blitzstein's 1937 "play in music," The Cradle Will Rock, uses theatre as a political soapbox. Its scathing depictions of the hypocrisies of capitalism, religion, and other societal icons remain painfully apt today, and there is no doubt that it is an important work. It is also dull.

Lara Pulver
Photo: Joan Marcus
John Doyle's direction uses cutesy devices to try to liven up the evening, but he can't fight the reality that 90 minutes of in-your-face lecturing set to nonmelodious music is a slog.

It doesn't help that Ann Hould-Ward's costumes, with all of the performers wearing blue and gray work clothes, add a layer of monotony to the proceedings and remove the physical cues that help to distinguish not only character from character but also class from class.

The cast--Ken Barnett, Eddie Cooper, Benjamin Eakeley, David Garrison, Ian Lowe, Kara Mikula, Lara Pulver, Sally Ann Triplett, Rema Webb, and Tony Yazbeck--is excellent. It is a treat to hear their beautiful unmiked voices.

But a lecture is a lecture, and the evening simply doesn't work for me. (However, the show received an enthusiastic standing ovation the night I saw it.)

Wendy Caster
(2nd row, audience right, press ticket)
Show-Score: 70

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