by Jonathan Marc Sherman
after Bertolt Brecht's Baal
Directed by and Starring Ethan Hawke
The New Group at Theate Row

Reviewed by David Spencer

Clive, yet another of the New Group’s tedious wallows in depravity, exists in a ethereal trance—as if to emulate the drug-infused perspective of its eponymous anti-hero, who would seem to be some kind of rising or falling pop singer—and is performed in such a listless, urgency-free, mostly muttered manner that it’s practically somnambulistic. Playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman’s “take” on Bertolt Brecht’s Baal, it features director Ethan Hawke in the title role and Sherman in the supporting cast. Neither fellow does either of his jobs particularly well, and when it’s over (or when you’re done with it, whichever comes first), you barely have the sense of having watched a play at all, but rather of having crossed briefly through a room in which a lot of bongs were bubbling just out of sight and a bunch of people on fumes only thought they were doing something meaningful. This is self-indulgence of the highest and lowest order and best ignored.

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