Director Ben Rimalower is making a second career of turning life’s lemons into the lemonade of serio-comic one man shows, which he performs rather than directs (Aaron Mark directs Rimalower, and you have to give Mark credit for having the requisite boldness to direct a director). First there was Patti Issues, which detailed his complex relationships with both his heroine Patti LuPone and his own father. Now, in Bad with Money, he goes into his even more complex relationship with cash and credit.
Spectacular and marvelously fresh and inventive, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time explores the mind of an incredibly intelligent but socially inept young man with what seems like high-functioning autism or Asperger’s. When the neighbor’s dog is killed with a pitchfork – or a “garden fork” as they call it in this British import – 15-year-old Christopher sets about finding out who did the dastardly deed, with unexpected results. This is based on a popular young adult novel, so everything turns out for the best in the end, even if we get to some decidedly uncomfortable places in the middle.
This is definitely one of the warmer plays by the notoriously cerebral British playwright Tom Stoppard. Indian Ink follows fictional Modernist English poet Flora Crewe (Romola Garai) as she visits India in the 1930s, where her intricate relationship with Indian artist Nirad Das (Firdous Bamji) evolves against the backdrop of Gandhi’s nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly, often called the “Salt March”. Fifty years later, in 1980s England, her younger sister Eleanor (the ever-luminous Rosemary Harris) is at pains to protect her controversial sister’s name and legacy.
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In Riding the Midnight Express, Billy Hayes has created a riveting one-man show, detailing his time in Turkish prisons and his daring escape, taking pains to make clear the distinctions between the movie version of Midnight Express and what actually happened. Hayes had been smuggling hash out of Turkey for some time before he was arrested in Istanbul in 1970. A combination of over-confidence on his part and changing international politics landed him in prison for 5 years. One of the major misunderstandings caused by Oliver Stone’s sensationalist screenplay for Midnight Express is that Hayes holds any resentment towards Turkey for what happened to him. He still loves the country and that’s one of the major keynotes of this one-man show.