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 Cistone’s 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 isn’t as glib as the works of Christopher Durang — another Catholic comedic playwright confounded by his theology. Yet Guirgis’ argumentation doesn’t 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 Nucci’s ingratiating prosecuting attorney, Katy Jacoby’s defense attorney with personal crises, and Max Middleton’s 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, it’s 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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