Monday, November 16, 2009

Wolves at the Window

"Wolves at the Window" Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters, November 14, 2009

Toby Davies has adapted 10 short stories by Saki, a/k/a Hector Hugh Munro as part of the Brits Off Broadway 2009 festival. The result is an evening of Wildean sitcom vignettes as if presented by Monty Python.

Subtitled "(and other tales of immorality)" some segments land better than others. More successful are the sequences around Filboid Studge, a dreadful breakfast cereal renamed by a hopeful suitor for his true love's father. The four actors carrying the evening of Edwardian era tales, Gus Brown, Jeremy Booth, Anna Francolini and Sarah Moyle, each bring varying comic strengths. The laughs, however, tend to undercut what seem intended as more serious or frightening moments.

Director Thomas Hescott manages the frequents shifts from tale to tale nicely, drawing the best of each actor. Using simple set pieces like chairs and a steamer trunk, Mr. Hescott doesn't quite reach the heights achieved in 39 Steps, but does create an interesting forest of hat racks for the final tale of feuding neighbors who, when trapped by a fallen branch on the land that's the source of their disagreement, resolve their differences as they realize that the approaching figures are wolves.

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