Poe: Never...Nevermore, Shakespeare's Gale Force, at Organic Theater Company Greenhouse. Edgar Allan Poe was a multitalented man who wrote much more than the handful of stories and poems we remember from junior high. So why put together a show of the same old chestnuts--"The Raven," "The Bells," "The Masque of the Red Death"? And why read them with so little feeling? There's nothing in this soporific take on Poe's works to indicate why Shakespeare's Gale Force decided to pick on Poe and not, say, Shakespeare or the phone book. Either would have provided opportunities to drone on and on, as Tim Goldich does when he reduces "The Fall of the House of Usher" to a dry, muttered lecture, as well as opportunities to laugh maniacally, as Robert John Keating does at the climax of "The Tell-Tale Heart."
But of course if the company had chosen Shakespeare or the phone book, Rolfe Sanberg Jr. would have had no reason to wear greasepaint, slick back his hair, and whine and mince through his rendition of Poe as pathetic wimp. And there would have been little justification for using a smoke machine to fill the room every ten minutes or so with (cough! cough!) atmosphere. --Jack Helbig