Democracy Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 20 2009

Inspired by Watergate and based on two novels by 19th-century writer Henry Brooks Adams, Romulus Linney's 1975 satire of political corruption is set during Ulysses S. Grant's scandal-plagued presidency. The plot focuses on two ill-fated romances--one between a reform-minded Republican senator and an ambitious socialite, the other between an earnest young Episcopalian minister and a freethinking atheist. Linney's ironic takes on partisan scheming, the power of lobbyists, and the challenges facing would-be reformers resonate strongly now, as Washington wrangles over health-care legislation. But the play suffers from stilted dialogue and contrived plotting, and director Steven Fedoruk's staging for Eclipse Theatre Company--with its mannered, superficial performances and chintzy costumes--is a tedious affair. --Albert Williams

Price: $15-$25

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