Though frayed at the edges in both the writing and the production, Stephen Adly Guirgis contemporary NYC trial of Judas (Robert Mollohan, still in biblical garb) set in the Hope Street purgatorial subway station, with the stairwells of Danny Cistones set clearly marked Uptown and Downtown offers an invigorating meditation on the paradoxical essences of forgiveness and revenge built into the core of our cultural mythology. Even with its comic approach, Guirgis play isnt as glib as the works of Christopher Durang another Catholic comedic playwright confounded by his theology. Yet Guirgis argumentation doesnt come close to that of the literary masters in that realm of debate Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Mikhail Bulgakov. This play falls somewhere between a historical pageant, a trial and a farce (Don Rickles is called in for questioning, just for the joke). There are really nice lead performances by Danny Nuccis ingratiating prosecuting attorney, Katy Jacobys defense attorney with personal crises, and Max Middletons impatient judge. Some supporting performers are difficult to hear, and when the play turns meaningful, via earnest speeches near the end, it completely unravels, at least in this production. Still, its smart and funny enough to deserve its audience.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 6 p.m. Starts: Jan. 18. Continues through March 30, 2008
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