The Duchess of Malfi Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 26 2012

Co-adapters Brandon Bruce and Christine Scarfuto add a six-person, quasi-Greek chorus to John Webster's Jacobean tragedy and keep them remarkably busy throughout this confounding show. When they're not sighing, grunting, singing, swaying, banging drums, hammering xylophones, playing incidental parts, or imitating other characters' death throes, they drape themselves around the stage and pull portentous faces. Mostly, though, they gum up Webster's tightly geared plot, helping to obscure the answers to fundamental questions like why the widowed duchess's brothers would conspire to murder her if she dares marry a commoner. Without conceptual coherence to guide them, the wildly uneven cast swim against multiple currents for almost two and a half hours, arriving nowhere. —Justin Hayford

Price: $28

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