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

When: Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 30 2011

In Ben Jonson's intricately plotted Jacobean comedy, a trio of unscrupulous lowlifes set up a fake alchemist's shop in London and swindle a merchant, a clerk, an aristocrat, and clergymen with promises of wealth, sexual prowess, and boundless luck. The humor comes largely from class inversion: the respectable folk are hypocrites, and the swindlers are enterprising (one even gets to keep the loot). But Jack Dugan Carpenter's modern-dress staging for Nothing Special Productions is nearly devoid of class consciousness. His characters are just mismatched screwballs--including, inexplicably, a cowboy and a metal rocker. The show therefore comes across as a five-act party trick rather than meaningful social critique. The generally broad, bellicose acting obscures much of Jonson's dense text. --Justin Hayford

Price: $15

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