Broadway Review: GARY: A SEQUEL TO TITUS ANDRONICUS (Booth Theatre)

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by Harvey Perr on April 27, 2019

in Theater-New York


A bloody war is ended. The bodies pile up. Who will clean up the mess? What to do? What to do? Oh, yes. Send in the clowns.

On this note, Taylor Mac, the certified genius whose A 24-Decade History of Popular Music was the most dazzling, mesmerizing, audacious, life-changing theater experience of the 21st century thus far, ventures into the very modern post-Shakespeare, crazy, maddeningly expressive world which Broadway only imagines in its most feverish dreams. Does it belong there? Will it last there? Let us hope and pray that it does and it does, because its craziness is exactly the shot in the arm that Broadway needs.

What exactly is Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus about? I haven’t quite figured it out and I’m not sure director George C. Wolfe has, either. But he plunges into it with the determination that it will explain itself, and with the help of Santo Loquasto’s extraordinary design of dead naked bodies amassed into a triangle of flesh, carnage, and flaccid penises, he plants the play on a ground that fascinates and intrigues us precisely because it is unfamiliar.

And because clowns are called on to bring forth a new world, Wolfe has sent in the best. There are no better clowns than Julie White, Kristine Nielsen and Nathan Lane (not in the order in which they appear in the program but in the order of comic brilliance). I’m not sure they know exactly what they are saying or doing, either, but, again, they go at it with full flourish and are hilariously funny and one imagines they will get even funnier the more they work at it. Ms. White is practically there.

Does it matter that it is not an easy play to explain away? Perhaps, one day, we will wake up in the middle of the night and in the midst of a horrible nightmare and think, hey, that was not about ancient Rome at all but about where we are living right now. I do believe that Taylor Mac has it in his comic arsenal to know exactly what it is about. And the best advice I can give to adventurous theater-goers is to relax and laugh as much as you can, even with the knowledge that this is no laughing matter.

photos by Julia Cervantes

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Booth Theatre, 222 W 45th St.
ends on August 4, 2019
for tickets, call 212.239.6200 or visit Telecharge

for more info, visit Gary on Broadway

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